Friday, January 18, 2013

If Guns Were Treated Like Cars



One of the current responses from gun enthusiasts to any attempts (however minimal) to regulate firearms is that cars kill more people than guns and do we want to ban cars too?

There are some simple responses to that suggestion.  First is that few if any are actually proposing a ban on guns.  Second is a comparison of the utility and purpose of the two kinds of machines.  Third is that we are rapidly approaching the time when gun deaths -- which are on the rise -- could well exceed car deaths -- which are declining.  In ten states, including my home state of Oregon, there are already more gun deaths per year than automobile deaths. (Source)


But let me take the side of those who propose we treat guns and cars the same.  If we did so, we could see the following new regulations:

  1. You would have to be sixteen to use a firearm, and then only after passing both a written and a shooting exam. 
  2. Your license to operate a firearm would have to be renewed every few years and could include a vision test, a use test as well as other assurances of competence.
  3. Your firearm itself would have to be licensed every few years, including verification that you still have it or documentation that it was sold and to whom, including their address. You would pay a license fee for each firearm you own.
  4. You would have to maintain a liability policy for each of your firearms, rates for which would vary depending on your age, personal shooting record and the number and value of firearms you possess.  A theft policy would be optional.
  5. The firearms industry would be heavily regulated, with extensive safety, environmental and maintenance responsibilities. New safety technologies would be required shortly after discovery and testing.
  6. If a firearm caused injury or death and the fault could be traced to the weapon, the maker and the dealer could both be sued by the injured party.  (Surprisingly, they are currently exempt from tort liability.)
  7. A state level department would exist with the manpower to oversee the firearms culture.
  8. It would be a felony to operate your firearm while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
  9. The fuel for your firearm (i.e. ammunition) would be taxed heavily to support the infrastructure required to oversee firearms in your state.
What am I missing here?

I suppose we have a choice.  There are the modest proposals from President Obama or the above ones paralleling automobile responsibilities.  You choose.

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