On Regulating Guns Like Cars

Let’s get this straight: I’m a gun owner, and I would love it if my guns were regulated like cars. Right now, my CA-owned guns are regulated far more strictly than the lax regulations we subject cars to.

I get what the anti-gun side is saying when they carp on about regulating this, but it’s based upon a complete lack of examination of the issues AND a whole lot of cultural assumptions from middle class urbanites with little to no experience outside of their own insular spheres. In the world which only exists between their ears, here is how the two items differ:

  • Everyone must go through a rigorous training and qualification process to own and operate cars, which is entirely too easy to fail.
  • Guns can just be ordered off the internet with no background check, and carried anywhere you want.

The reality in California differs wildly. In some other states, it’s a different matter.

  • Obtaining One
    • A car can be bought from anyone, without a waiting period, and only requires registration to drive in public. You do have to register it if you want to drive it on public roads. Off of public roads (i.e. race tracks, your farm, etc), no license is required.
      • There is no violation of the law in obtaining a car unless it’s stolen property or in violation of some import law, in which case… well, see ‘You Probably Knew That Was Illegal And Did It Anyway’.
    • Generally, a gun may only be bought from a licensed dealer or passed along very limited family lines, and must be registered regardless of what you do with it. There is a 10-day wait and a Federal background check on each purchase, unless you have a collector’s Federal Firearms License *and* the same Certificate of Eligibility which a police officer must have, *and* the gun you are buying is over 50 years old or otherwise classified as a collectible. And even then, you have to send in a registration form to the State identifying the gun by serial number and indicating that you have taken possession of it.
      • Any violation of this law is generally charged as a felony, which means you may never own a gun again for the rest of your life.
  • Configuring One
    • A car’s mechanical configuration may be illegally altered with inconsequential results. If you’re going to drive it on public roads, you are required to be configured in certain ways – but if you’re not on public roads, you aren’t subject to most of these laws. If you are found to be in violation, a police officer might have your vehicle impounded at worst. More likely you’ll get a “fix-it ticket” requiring you to restore your car to a legal configuration. This law is blatantly ignored, as evidenced by all the illegal window tint jobs driving around in California. It’s considered a trivial offense and the police generally don’t even bother to pursue it except as as an additional charge to other moving violations, or as a means of stopping people they don’t like for other reasons.
      • If you repeatedly violate these laws, you may accumulate enough points on your license to merit a temporary suspension. And if you are temporarily suspended, you may appeal to be permitted to continue driving to work and back.
    • A gun, if illegally configured, will put you in jail. If you attach a pistol grip to a semi-automatic centerfire rifle without a magazine lock, you’re looking at a felony and the loss of all your gun rights. Unlike a car where you can hook up a nitrous system at the track and disconnect it before leaving to be street-legal again, gun configuration laws apply in every square foot of the state, including the inside of your gun safe at home.
      • One conviction of the assault weapon law will be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or felony. Conviction of a felony offense will cost your gun rights for life.
  • Taking One in Public
    • In order to legally operate a car in public, you only need a driver’s license and valid insurance. People disregard this with impunity all the time. A driver’s license is issued to anyone medically suitable to drive, upon passing a relatively simple test for which there’s a readily available and standardized study guide. Upon issuance, this driver’s license permits you to drive your car anywhere you wish in America, and you can even drive to other countries if you satisfy their insurance, passport, etc requirements.
      • If you violate this law by driving illegally, you will generally only get fined, and you can be back to illegally driving the next day.
    • In order to take a gun in public for self defense, you must pass what is, in most counties, very narrowly defined issuance criteria. While a few counties in California have gone to “shall issue”, the areas where most of its citizens live are “may issue”. This means that the police consider each applicant’s request for a permit to carry, and generally say no. The exceptions are those they deem to be both valuable people and at elevated risk. Any ordinary person’s self defense is not a good enough basis for issuance, but a celebrity or a business owner who carries large amounts of cash, will generally be good enough. If you do manage to pass their issuance criteria, you must then go through a training course and range qualification with the gun you intend to carry, before you are allowed to carry it.
      • If you violate this law by illegally carrying, you will generally receive a felony conviction and lose your gun rights for life.

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