I often hear folks cite the level of vehicle regulation in the United States as justification to increase firearms regulation. Do they really want to regulate firearms like we do cars? I’m not so sure they understand what they are asking for.

The folks asking for gun regulation similar to vehicle registration say things like:

  • You have to buy insurance to drive. Why shouldn’t you have to buy insurance to have a gun?
  • When you buy your car, you have to register it. Why shouldn’t you have to register your gun?
  • You have to have a driver license and take a test to drive. Why shouldn’t you have to get a license and take a test to own a gun?

What this line of thinking completely ignores is the fact that operating a motor vehicle on public roadways is a privilege while the right  to keep and bear arms is a right.

Their argument does bring up some interesting points, though. I’d like to address those points. Afterall, these folks are really just asking for a reasonable conversation.

Insurance is required if the vehicle is financed, as a provision of the loan issued by a private bank, and to drive on public roadways, as a condition of liability. If one never intends to possess a firearm in a public space or finance the firearm, is insurance required? Many people buy uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance to protect themselves in the event they are involved in an accident with someone who hasn’t met the minimum insurance requirement to legally drive. Does that mean they will do the same with firearms?

Furthermore, does the purchase of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance mean that these folks recognize that people will do what they want regardless of law?

Vehicle registration is indeed required to drive a vehicle on public roadways. However, a background check is not required to purchase a vehicle. In fact, a license isn’t even required to purchase a vehicle, only to drive. Does that mean these folks support no background checks to buy guns? Or do they think we should have background checks to drive?

Neither a driver license nor test is not required to drive on private land. For example, one could be a professional race car driver and never obtain a driver license. If we extend the same level control to firearms, we would require licenses to possess a gun for use in public areas. Most states already have such restrictions in place.

However, since these folks support requiring gun licenses at the same level as driver licenses, does that mean they support automatic national reciprocity. Every state recognizes driver licenses from every other state despite differences in testing and licensing requirements. If we treat guns like cars, then my Ohio license to carry will be recognized in every state in the union. Is that what they’re asking for?

And lastly, if we treat guns like cars, do these folks support automatic and/or limited rights restoration for people who commit crimes with guns? One can obtain limited driving privileges even during an active OVI suspense and full restoration once their suspension is finished. Does this mean these folks think violent offenders should have their rights to a firearm partially restored when they’re on probation? Do they think we should allow felons to possess firearms in public places once their sentence is complete?

Whatdya say? Should we still align firearms regulation with motor vehicle regulation? Or is that no longer a valid argument?