First off, I don’t know of anyone who’s seriously proposing we ban guns outright — just certain types (i.e. military grade assault rifles), and tightening regulations. Think of it as calling for safer tires after the multiple accidents caused by faulty years several years ago, or the call for seatbelts back in the day.
But I keep seeing this come up again and again, and I have thirteen messages in my inbox with this claim — so I’m going to just agree. I’m casting aside the fact that the purpose of a gun is different than that of a car. The only way my gun is getting me a ride to school is if I brandish it in order to get a ride or a jack a car.
Fine. The pro-gun folks win. Let’s treat guns like cars.
In order to drive a car in Wyoming, you first must get a license. Therequirements are fairly similar nationwide. Most states require you take a driver’s education course and have a learner’s permit with a multitude of restrictions, but all states mandate you must pass a written test and an eye exam — but don’t forget the actual driving test! You must prove to the instructor you know how to safely and accurately operate the vehicle, and if you are unable to, the instructor has the right to keep you from retaking the test for a specific time period. Scary, huh?
But hooray, you passed!
Not so fast, though! In order to use your driver’s license, your vehicle must be legally registered. This means that you have to go to the courthouse with proof of ownership (the title) to register it initially, and pay a fee every year after that. Failure to register your vehicle yearly can result in a ticket for $110 or more in Wyoming, and can be considered a misdemeanor, especially in other states. If you have multiple vehicles, each must be registered. This must be done within 45 days.
Oh, and you’ll need insurance on your vehicle, in case you damage someone’s property, or cause injury to yourself or someone else while operating your vehicle. In Wyoming, anyone failing to provide proof of insurance on a registered vehicle as required is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable pursuant to W.S. 31-4-103(a) upon conviction. The punishment is a fine of $750.00 or less, or a stint in jail of six months or less. Your insurance must cover each vehicle you own, even if you just drive it occasionally.
Plus, the police have the right to inspect your vehicle if they believe it’s necessary for safety reasons, and most states require a Vehicle Identification Number inspection and check by a sheriff’s deputy or state-designated inspector before the car can be transferred to a new owner, even with a private sale. The new owner must also provide the state with proof of a license and insurance to take possession of the title.
If you fuck up enough, the state can suspend your license as prescribed under the law.
Doesn’t matter if you swear that you didn’t mean to, or that it’s your right to drive wherever the hell you want, when you want. Also, “YOLO, your honor!” will not be a great defense when you go before the judge.
In all seriousness, even an accumulation of little violations or a failure to pay a citation can get your license yanked, including not having insurance or registration.
You might say, “BUT I’M A LAW-ABIDING DRIVER!” Doesn’t matter. Everyone has to live by the same set of laws and obey them, even if they’ve never broken them before. This also means rules of the road in the form of traffic laws and such, including laws about where you can’t take your vehicle. You might think it’s your special snowflake right to drive on the sidewalk, do donuts in a school parking lot, or barrel through a city park, but the law says otherwise. Sorry snowflake!
“BUT OTHER PEOPLE DON’T OBEY THE LAWS!” is also not a reason to do away with traffic laws. Sure, there’s a lot of people who speed, myself included. But you take away the penalty, and it’ll be all fun and games until someone’s kid gets mowed down in a school zone by an asshat doing 60 mph — which happens ANYWAYS but is less likely because drivers like myself know there’s a stiff penalty for blasting through school zones.
And yes, while tens of thousands of people die from traffic accidents every year, and that’s terrible, the laws and regulations we have now decrease the likelihood of it happening. Plus, the death rate from motor vehicle accidents (11.7 per 100,000 in the U.S.) is not that far off from firearms (10.1 per 100,000 in the U.S.) when all manner of deaths by firearm are considered. In fact, in some states, you’re more likely to be killed by a gun than in a motor vehicle accident. By 2015, it’s likely firearms will surpass motor vehicle accidents:
Let’s keep in mind, cars are not designed to kill something or someone, which I discuss while taking on the whole “People kill people” canard.
So sure. Let’s treat boomsticks like cars. After all, isn’t this where this comparison would ultimately lead? I’m cool with that.