2nd Amendment

Why Don’t We Regulate Guns Like We Do Cars?

Yes, you read the head­line cor­rect­ly. When folks get to talk­ing about the 2nd Amend­ment and gun con­trol, this trope is bound to show up:

“Why don’t we reg­u­late guns the way we do cars? You know, require insur­ance and dri­ving tests and emis­sion stan­dards and make seat­belts manda­to­ry and require anti-lock brakes and airbags and so on?”

Fair ques­tion.

So! Why don’t we reg­u­late guns like we do cars? There’s actu­al­ly a very good, although bor­ing, answer[1]Pur­chas­ing, dri­ving, or man­u­fac­tur­ing motor vehi­cles all fall under the Constitution’s Com­merce Clause (Arti­cle I, Sec­tion 8), which gives Con­gress the free­dom to reg­u­late, tax, and micro­man­age … Con­tin­ue read­ing for that ques­tion; which you can read if you like being bored. But for­get that noise. Let’s get to the fun stuff:

I’ve always thought it would be a lot more fun if cars were reg­u­lat­ed like guns:

  • When the Con­sti­tu­tion was writ­ten, trans­porta­tion was lim­it­ed to walk­ing, rid­ing hors­es, horse-drawn car­riages, and wind-dri­ven ships. Lemme be gen­er­ous and add rick­shaws. There­fore, bicy­cles, motor­cy­cles, cars, lim­ou­sines, mini­vans, SUVs, trucks, trains, motor­ized boats or ships, fixed-wing air­craft, heli­copters, and rock­ets? Illegal.
  • Muf­flers and emis­sion con­trols? Ille­gal, because peo­ple could­n’t hear get­away cars.[2]Way too many Con­gress­crit­ters sup­port bans on sup­pres­sors; oth­er­wise if someone’s shoot­ing at you, you won’t know where it’s com­ing from if the shooter’s gun has a sup­pres­sor. … Con­tin­ue read­ing
  • “Mil­i­tary-style” fea­tures like 4WD, off-road tires, GPS, winch­es, camo paint, AC, car­bon-fiber or com­pos­ite parts, mat­te-black trim pieces and so on would be illegal.
  • New cars would ship with 1‑gallon gas tanks, because it would be eas­i­er to catch bad guys if they have to stop every 10 miles to fill up again.[3]Stem­ming from the ludi­crous argu­ment that if a mass shoot­er has to stop and reload every 10 rounds, it gives peo­ple a chance to tack­le the shoot­er. The Pulse night­club shoot­er, for instance, wan­dered … Con­tin­ue read­ing
  • Besides, if you can’t dri­ve wher­ev­er it is you’re going with 1 gal­lon if gas, you’re a lousy dri­ver.[4]As in “If you can’t kill a deer or moose or wilde­beest or bison with three bul­lets, you’re a lousy hunter.”
  • You’d have to remove the stock gas tank from cars shipped in from oth­er states for the same rea­son.[5]In Col­orado, for instance, it’s ille­gal to sell guns with mag­a­zines hold­ing more than 10 rounds, even though most semi-auto­mat­ic rifles ship with 30-round mag­a­zines. Which in turn means … Con­tin­ue read­ing
  • Which reminds me: If you want to shop for a car online, or buy mail-order car parts, or paint, or trim, or acces­sories? Tough shit, because it’s ille­gal. You’ll just have to walk 90 miles to the near­est factory.
  • If you buy a car you’d have to pay for it, then wait up to 30 days to actu­al­ly dri­ve it home. Because if you’re buy­ing a car because you want to run peo­ple over with it, wait­ing might help you change your mind. Too bad if you just need a car for the 99.9999999999999% of oth­er legit­i­mate rea­sons you might need a car.
  • If you already own a car, but for any rea­son you need to buy anoth­er one, tough shit. Because no one needs more than one car.
  • If, after your arbi­trary wait­ing peri­od, you final­ly go get your car, but it breaks down or gets stolen or totaled? Sucks to be you, because even if you can get per­mis­sion to buy anoth­er car while you still hold the title on a car you can’t dri­ve (Spoil­er alert: You won’t), you have to wait anoth­er month to go buy a new one. Too bad if you have a job or you need to get to your col­lege class­es or you live more than a quar­ter mile away from the near­est post office or gro­cery store.
  • If you dri­ve while you’re intox­i­cat­ed and run over some­one, the vic­tim’s fam­i­ly could sue not only you, but also the car’s man­u­fac­tur­er, any gas sta­tion or auto parts store you ever vis­it­ed, your dri­ver’s ed teacher, your school dis­trict and your par­ents for cre­at­ing you in the first place.
  • If you were dri­ving, say, a Toy­ota Cam­ry dur­ing your DUI, or you’re a con­fused elder­ly dri­ver and you plowed your Toy­ota Cam­ry into a farmer’s mar­ket, the gov­ern­ment would be able to out­law Toy­ota Cam­rys. Not because Toy­ota Cam­rys are the best-sell­ing car in the US; not because there’s a mal­func­tion in Cam­rys that sud­den­ly dis­able its steer­ing or brakes.
  • If some­one bor­rows or buys or steals your car, and then runs over some­one or gets a DUI or a speed­ing tick­et or what­ev­er, the vic­tim’s fam­i­ly can sue you, or the cops can arrest you, or if you hap­pen to own anoth­er car or motor­cy­cle or bicy­cle or Seg­way or roller skate or a pogo stick, they can con­fis­cate all of them. Even if you took all required/possible precautions.
  • What if you’re a col­lege employ­ee or pro­fes­sor or stu­dent? Sor­ry! You can’t get with­in 1,350 feet of the cam­pus with your car, even if you have to walk 2 miles to get to your class.
  • What if you own an old, com­plete­ly non-func­tion­al, or worth­less car, your city or state gov­ern­ment will cheer­ful­ly pay you top dol­lar for it so you can go buy a nice new car on the tax­pay­ers’ dime.
  • If your car is just old­er, but still runs okay, and you just got a new­er car and would be hap­py to sell it cheap, or even give it away, to a col­lege stu­dent or sin­gle par­ent, or any­one else who might be in need, or even one of your own chil­dren? Fuged­d­a­bou­dit. Uncle Sam does­n’t approve. No car for your needy friend or child. Neen­er neener.

Ref­er­ences

Ref­er­ences
1 Pur­chas­ing, dri­ving, or man­u­fac­tur­ing motor vehi­cles all fall under the Constitution’s Com­merce Clause (Arti­cle I, Sec­tion 8), which gives Con­gress the free­dom to reg­u­late, tax, and micro­man­age the everlovin’ shit out of any­thing to do with inter­state or inter­na­tion­al com­merce. And they do. But the right to bear arms is an enu­mer­at­ed right pro­tect­ed by the 2nd Amendment—the sec­ond one ever enu­mer­at­ed, right after the 1st Amend­ment. Which means the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment can’t screw around at will with it, along with any of the Constitution’s oth­er 26 amend­ments, for which we should all be grateful.
2 Way too many Con­gress­crit­ters sup­port bans on sup­pres­sors; oth­er­wise if someone’s shoot­ing at you, you won’t know where it’s com­ing from if the shooter’s gun has a sup­pres­sor. No, really.
3 Stem­ming from the ludi­crous argu­ment that if a mass shoot­er has to stop and reload every 10 rounds, it gives peo­ple a chance to tack­le the shoot­er. The Pulse night­club shoot­er, for instance, wan­dered around inside the night­club for 45 min­utes, stop­ping to reload, go to the bath­room, text mes­sage friends, and post stuff online. Numer­ous peo­ple still in the build­ing did not, repeat NOT, leap out of hid­ing and tack­le him.
4 As in “If you can’t kill a deer or moose or wilde­beest or bison with three bul­lets, you’re a lousy hunter.”
5 In Col­orado, for instance, it’s ille­gal to sell guns with mag­a­zines hold­ing more than 10 rounds, even though most semi-auto­mat­ic rifles ship with 30-round mag­a­zines. Which in turn means pur­chasers have to buy an inop­er­a­ble rifle, then go online and order a 10-round mag­a­zine. Or bet­ter yet: Order a 30-round mag­a­zine from any one of hun­dreds of online deal­ers, because Col­orado hasn’t fig­ured out a way to make it impos­si­ble to order stuff online from mer­chants who aren’t in Colorado. 
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