The Last Word on Cars vs. Guns

"The Model 1895 was John Browning's first production belt-fed machine gun, seen here mounted on a 1905 Franklin Cross." (courtesy browningmgs.com)

Christian Traina writes:

My mother was trying to make a case for gun laws based on vehicular laws. Here was my response.

1- The private sale of a vehicle does not have to be reported to the state
2- A motor vehicle sale does not require a criminal background check
3- There is no limit to the capacity of horsepower a vehicle may have
4- A person can legally own a vehicle at any age
5- A vehicle can be operated in public as early as 16
6- There is no waiting period to buy a car
7- You can buy as many cars you want in a month
8- Students are allowed to bring their cars to school

9- There are no “car free zones”
10- Politicians do not create laws that ban the legal ownership of specific models of cars
11- Politicians do not ban cosmetic features on cars
12- Politicians do not regulate how much gas you can put in your car
13- People diagnosed with a mental illness can buy a car
14- People diagnosed with a mental illness can drive a car
15- People with a criminal record can buy a car
16- People with a criminal record can drive a car
17- Mayor Bloomberg does not require you ask him permission to use a car in NYC
18- Rahm Emmanuel does not advise banks to blackmail car manufacturers
19- It does not take 3 months to begin driving once you have passed your test
20- Children are allowed to bring toy cars to school
21- Schools do not suspend students for making driving gestures with their hands
20- You are not required to provide your fingerprints upon acquiring your drivers license
23- You can make any alteration to your vehicle without having to get approval from the ATF
24- You don’t have to go through the ATF to get a muffler for your car
25- A drivers license will permit you to drive anywhere on the continent (even NYC)
26- No restrictions for “high capacity fuel tanks”
27- The media has not assigned a “behavior type” to certain vehicles in hopes of turning public favor against them
28- You are not required to lock up your car by law
29- MSNBC does not edit video to make drivers look like criminals
30- Vehicular laws do not violate my constitutional rights
31- Obama does not advise doctors to ask patients if they own a car
32- When there is a terrible drunk driving accident, congress does not pass laws on the size of rims you can have
33- No one correlates strict driving laws with vehicular deaths
34- No one complains that a car involved in vehicular homicide came from out of state
35- The government does not prevent civilians to own vehicles as it contracts thousands for itself
36- San Diego Police are not proposing a plan to end civilian driving in a generation
37- The media actually owns cars, and are capable of speaking factually about them
38- Politicians actually own cars, and are capable of speaking factually about them
39- Cars don’t kill people, drivers kill people
40- You can buy a car “just for fun”

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

56 Responses to The Last Word on Cars vs. Guns

  1. avatarWilliam says:

    #9 Yes there are.

    #17 Not yet.

    • avatarJerryboy says:

      but it is not generally a felony to violate a car-free zone, and most car-free zones are temporary/seasonal.

      • avatarC says:

        I dunno. I took my friend’s Fiat into the mall once. They were not amused.

        • avatarD says:

          I know this was meant as a joke, but somebody will likely take it seriously and say “Oh well see? There you go”
          The fact is that often times you will see cars just sitting there in the mall as part of a raffle promotion. They aren’t being operated. Just as you can walk into a gun store and see lots of guns on the wall for sale. Once again they are not being operated. It isn’t the item that is illegal in either case, but if somebody uses it in a fashion that is illegal then they are responsible. The car/gun is only a tool. The operator is the deciding factor in its legality.

    • avatarFyrewerx says:

      1. Many states require information to be entered on the back of the vehicle’s title for purpose of transfer. The buyer becomes the registered owner of said vehicle. Many states also want to know the sale price, so that the state sales tax can be collected (usually by the DMV).

      7. True, you can “buy” as many cars as you want. However, many states have a limit of how many cars you can “sell” in a month before you are required to apply for an automobile “dealers” license.

      The “state” wants their share of the money…. LOL

  2. avatarGreg Camp says:

    And a driver’s license is shall issue and is automatically renewed for a minimal fee.

  3. avatarRoadrunner says:

    Let’s not give them any ideas.

  4. avatarJohn says:

    Excellent List! :-)

  5. avatarMark N. says:

    No one is arguing that we should all drive eco-diesel hybrids because “no one needs a V-8.”

    Actually, I should say there are FEW people arguing…

    • avatarCA_Chris says:

      In CA, more than a few.

    • avatarWill says:

      Actually, you can have a V-10 or V-12 in a car: usually the car is old, or it’s considered a super-car. Leno has a car based around, what was it, a tank engine? Brian Johnson of AC/DC, I believe, has a car based around an older aircraft engine.

      The only complainers are the Eco types and those who stand to make money from carbon-footprint schemes (i.e. Al Gore.) … as they beg for engine size limitations because of carbon footprints. (Ignoring that the Prius, with its batteries, has a larger carbon footprint than a H1 Hummer)

  6. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    That was a great read, full of zingers. Perfect for a Friday evening!

  7. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Well there goes the “freedom” of driving!!! LOL!!!
    “President Dianne Feinstein Hussein Obama 3rd has passed a car ban law by EO due to the number of deaths from uncontrolled sales of cars at car shows, without a background check and an injection of anti asshole road rage serum!!!!
    Signed into law 3/13/2033

  8. avatarMark N. says:

    People think you are old fashioned if you don’t have an automatic in your car.

    If there was a constitutional amendment that DID protect a right to drive, would we be limited to wagons, buggies and carriages?

    • avatarEvan says:

      Yeah, and we would all be forced to take a background check with the TSA. Not to mention constant harrasment from the BATV(Bureau of Alchool tobbacco and vehicles).

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      Only lazy people (assuming they’re not disabled) prefer an automatic. I blame it as the main reason we have so many more traffic accidents in the US than other countries – you don’t need to pay attention to what you’re doing if you have an automatic transmission.

      • avatarMark says:

        I agree that the clutch makes me pay more attention to operating my vehicle safely and gives me better control.

      • avatarpeter says:

        Also, an automatic can only react to input from the road and driver.

        You, on the other hand, can downshift and upshift as needed, exactly when needed.

        My second car will be a stick if they still exist, but I am beginning to see just how big of an “if” that is.

        Notice the increased popularity of the automatic manuals?

        • avatarspeedracer5050 says:

          Ehhh. Gotta disagree with the auto Trans bit. I drive a car with a 6 speed auto tht I just ordered a B&M full manual competition Trans rebuild kit for. 6 speeds, up and down shifts at a wider rom range and even though a daily driver still pretty functional when needing to us lower gear ratio for ice/ snow times up an down hills.

        • avatarTotenglocke says:

          Yes Speed, but you don’t have the same control as in a manual and you don’t need the same skill or attention to drive it as you do a manual.

        • avatarTotenglocke says:

          Peter – I learned how to drive on an automatic but starting with the first car I bought at 17 I have only owned cars with a manual transmission. I’ll never buy anything else as long as I’m physically capable of driving a manual.

  9. avatarDavid S says:

    Unless you drive on public roads, you don’t have to register it or have a licence for it.

  10. avatarRabbi says:

    There are no restrictions against driving a car within 1000 feet of a school

    Great list!

  11. avatarsupton says:

    Crud, I had a post, and I think it got eaten by the web….

    I’m not sure about drawing a close parallel to cars is appropriate here. Back when the Founding Fathers ran things, I’m pretty sure the roads more or less “just existed”. I’m sure there was some toll roads, but the roads were just public property. Run what you had on it. Today, not so much. Yes, you can still walk, but if you want to drive you have to have a license, pay taxes on the vehicle, pass inspections (most states), pay tax on the fuel, and on some roads pay a toll. There may be places where you can’t drive (sidewalks, one way streets, bike lanes).

    Now, you can own a car without a license, but you really can’t use one without a license. Yes, the bar is set low for the license, but it’s still basically required. Not only that, but new manufacture cars have a host of standards they must meet (safety, emissions) so you could say they have certain things banned, by law. And try tampering with the emissions systems (what is it, a $10k federal fine?).

    I’m not sure if we want to draw parallels here, as it seems to me that cars already have “common sense” control that isn’t too far from what is pitched for “common sense” gun control. Not 100% the same, but not that different.

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      Humorous today, Madison’s last veto as president was to strike down a ‘internal improvements bill’ to provide federal money for roads and canals.

      He deemed it was unconstitutional.

      Those were the days.

    • avatarAPBTFan says:

      “I’m not sure about drawing a close parallel to cars is appropriate here”

      It was entirely appropriate because his mother was using it as the basis of her argument.

    • avatarExplorer says:

      I agree, the car may not be the best thing to compare to. In some states, cars are more heavily regulated than guns. (My home state of Utah comes to mind.)

  12. avatarGoldenboy says:

    #9. There are trails that restrict motor vehicle traffic.
    #21. As Bostonians, there are a couple of driving gestures we make that could get a student suspended from school.

  13. avatarAnon in CT says:

    29- MSNBC does not edit video to make drivers look like criminals

    Um, their parent, NBC, turned a pickup truck into an IED to prove a non-existent point. So yeah, the MFM lies about more than just firearms.

  14. avatarensitu says:

    You can never convince a Communist/Islamist that allowing you to enjoy the right to self defense is in ‘his favor’ for the sole reason that ‘their’ intent is to Terrorise, Humilate, Rape, and then Murder you with the least effort expended, as is the want of the Thugocracy in power

  15. avatarDon says:

    #41- President Obama drives a car all the time at Camp David!

    • avatarJan says:

      Prove it!!!

      He probably gets driven around in the event he might have to be responsible for his own actions.

  16. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    Yeah, I read where a person died in a vehicle accident last year. Don’t tell the mayors against cars though. I don’t enjoy walkin in what 5 below zero here, Randy

  17. avatarRobin says:

    Every one of you has missed THE vital difference: Driving is a privilege, baring arms is a right. It is granted by God and codified by the 2nd Amendment. You don’t have to drive to get somewhere, but if you want to live and enjoy the other rights enshrined in the Constitution, you have to be able to defend yourself. If you choose to not drive, fine. No one can force you to drive. But someone else can definitely force you to be dead.

    • avatarMark says:

      I think everyone who reads TTAG understands there is no enumerated “right to personal transportation” but used an idea liberals can undertand to make the point that their hoplophobia is absurd.

  18. avatarpat says:

    Brilliant list.

  19. avatarSilver says:

    And, you know, armed self-defense is a right and driving is not.

  20. 1- The private sale of a vehicle does not have to be reported to the state.
    (It does if you want to drive it.)

    2- A motor vehicle sale does not require a criminal background check.
    (It does require insurance, though. So let’s require gun insurance.)

    3- There is no limit to the capacity of horsepower a vehicle may have.
    (There is a speed limit, though. Do you understand how analogies work?)

    4- A person can legally own a vehicle at any age.
    (But can’t use it until that person is tested and licensed. Let’s license every gun owner.)

    5- A vehicle can be operated in public as early as 16.
    (I am in favor of requiring 16-year-olds to get learner’s permits to operate a gun.)

    6- There is no waiting period to buy a car
    (There would be if cars were designed specifically to kill things.)

    7- You can buy as many cars you want in a month.
    (Same with guns, dude. What state do you live in?)

    8- Students are allowed to bring their cars to school.
    (If they were doing it to kill their fellow students, though, I am pretty sure the states would start passing laws against it.)

    Do you have any arguments that are not Sophistry? Because seriously, these are very weak. These read like something a little kid would come up with after his first debate class.

    • avatarChristian says:

      Since Dave has presented a sincere case I’ll respond directly:

      1- “The private sale of a vehicle does not have to be reported to the state.
      (It does if you want to drive it.)” Private sale of a vehicle is an exchange of property, and so long as that property is used privately on your own property, it has nothing to do with the government. Most firearms are kept on the owners property, unless they desire to legally carry. That is when they go through the proper state protocols to obtain a conceal/open carry license.

      2- “A motor vehicle sale does not require a criminal background check.
      (It does require insurance, though. So let’s require gun insurance.)” Automobile insurance is primarily to protect the value of property. It will cover medical expenses. The primary purpose of a firearm is a deterrent of of aggression, and to secure peace & liberty from any who may threaten it. Those who break the law, and are met with such a defense weapon are not subject to my reimbursement of medical expenses (should they live) for their consequence of action.

      3- “There is no limit to the capacity of horsepower a vehicle may have.
      (There is a speed limit, though. Do you understand how analogies work?)” Civilian firearms have a speed limit: 1 pull of the trigger, one round fired. Military & Police are subject to different rate of fire, usually in the area of 1,000 rounds per min.

      4- “4- A person can legally own a vehicle at any age.
      (But can’t use it until that person is tested and licensed. Let’s license every gun owner.)” See answer 1. We do license every gun owner (per requirement of the state) for public firearm use.

      5- “A vehicle can be operated in public as early as 16.
      (I am in favor of requiring 16-year-olds to get learner’s permits to operate a gun.)” That time may come, but as of this time the general state law is a person may publicly operate a firearm at 21 years of age and above. I don’t see it changing to 16 anytime soon.

      6- “There is no waiting period to buy a car
      (There would be if cars were designed specifically to kill things.)” Please understand, the very LAST use of a firearm is to stop a threat. The primary use is a deterrent to keep & secure peace & liberty. Also, there is no waiting period to buy a sword (and if you can think of any other purpose a sword was designed…)

      7- “You can buy as many cars you want in a month.
      (Same with guns, dude. What state do you live in?)” If you live in South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, or California you are limited to purchasing one handgun per month (a representation of over 58 million people).

      8- “Students are allowed to bring their cars to school.
      (If they were doing it to kill their fellow students, though, I am pretty sure the states would start passing laws against it.)” Again, see the primary use of a firearm. There have been cases of students stopping an active shooter on campus with their legally owned firearms (this is very rare, as so few schools [by percentage] honor licensed civilians).

  21. avatarAce says:

    #11 is completely wrong, amongst others. I can think of a dozen cosmetic features which are banned on cars.

    • avatarMark says:

      Like what; live hood ornaments?

      • avatardebbie says:

        In NJ you cannot have tinted windows (tinted so dark that you can’t see the people inside).

        • avatardebbie says:

          Also in NJ, you cannot have a gun rack. Really. Even if you don’t put anything in it!

          The local contractors who used to like to put their levels there are pissed!

        • I once saw a Ford Focus with a gun rack in the back. I had to admire that, even if just for the slightly bipolar statement it makes. Generally speaking, though, he either needed to get a smaller gun, or a bigger car.

  22. avatarthatoneguy says:

    The whole guns vs cars argument has one fatal flaw: means of transportation are not listed in the Constitution as an inalienable right, but the ability of a citizen to be armed is.

  23. Hmmm. Still don’t see my comment. Quick summary: Your entire list is wrong, and even the premise is wrong. Cars are required to be insured, and cannot be operated without a license. Cars are frequently necessary to get a job, and are a key element in personal freedom.

    Even the absurdly low standards for driver’s training in my state are still more training than is required to get a concealed carry permit.

    If it weren’t for the second amendment, all guns would be regulated about the same way that fully-automatic weapons are now. We would have less personal freedom, but a lot fewer killing sprees.

    If cars had existed in 1787, they would have been given a lot more protections than firearms.

    • avatarMark says:

      In 1787, no one imagined anyone would take issue with someone’s personal transportation.

    • avatarJarhead1982 says:

      Cars if driven on your own property are not required to be insured, nor are they required to be licensed and many people operate cars without a license 8-9 million of them to be exact, they are called illegal aliens. Nor will they be trained before they are given their drivers licenses with immigration amnesty.

      Your claim of fewer killing sprees is based on your schizophrenic belief guns are sentient beings and the root cause of violence, the latter which you have failed to prove continuously.

      James Alan Fox, a noted anti gun criminologist states in an August 2012 editorial in the Boston Globe; “No Increase in Mass shootings”, that based on data extracted from official police reports to the FBI, shows annual incident, offender and victim tallies for gun homicides in which at least four people were murdered. Over the thirty-year time frame, an average of about 20 mass murders have occurred annually in the United States with an average death toll of about 100 per year.

      Which agrees with Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.

      But hey, how can that be, when since you antis enacted the gun free victim disarmament zones where you progressives prefer children be killed freely, killings in said zones have quadrupled, with 60 of the last 61 occurring in said zones. (Gifford was shot in a parking lot).
      Based on actual facts, the only place such killings are increasing, is in your pet gun free victim disarmament zones where progressives prefer children are killed freely. Since the intellectually challenged antis believe in causality, you implemented the law and the killings increased, all their blood is on your hands.

      Then again, since 1991, we have an additional 105 million firearms in civilian hands, so explain how the only place mass killings are increasing are in gun free victim disarmament zones einstein?

      • Jarhead, Thanks for taking the time to respond with arguments instead of personal insults. There are a few people on this board who respond thoughtfully. I suspect they are also responsible gun owners.

        In fact, I think the crimes committed in “gun-free” zones are one of the best arguments in favor of concealed carry.

        To an extent, this argument mixes cause and effect: If we had not been so lax with gun laws for the last 100 years, we wouldn’t need to defend ourselves so much now.

        Still, I guess we have to play the ball where it lies: There are millions of guns in the U.S., and now we have to figure out how best to defend ourselves from their owners.

        The thing I keep thinking about is my drive to work each morning. Nearly every day, I see at least one example of spectacularly bad driving. Even people who have owned cars and driven them every day for many years seem to know very little about how to operate them properly and safely.

        The same holds true for guns. Even though the majority of regular users are responsible and safe, there is a distinct minority who appear to be untrained, unsafe, and dangerous to themselves and others. Although some people train with their guns regularly, I am guessing it is a lower percentage than people who drive daily.

        So if we have “defend yourself” zones, it would most likely cut back on mass shootings, but at what cost? How many more accidental shootings would there be?

        Remember that I am not talking about you, I am talking about the aging hippie in the BMW who drove all the way to work yesterday in the emergency lane.

    • avatarSilver says:

      The fact that you endorse less personal freedom tells me all I need to know about you.

      Please FOAD. You’re sub-human, unworthy of living in a free society. You’re the type of person the 2A was created to defend against. You’re the type of person that makes me sometimes believe humanity is ultimately unworthy of preservation.

  24. avatarwiz says:

    lowbudgetdave: None of those apply if you are on your own property.

  25. avatarRob says:

    1. Anyone can drive any other person’s vehicle. The only restriction that registration imposes is for the vehicle to drive on the road and assign liability.

    2. Insurance is required to deal with the huge instance of accidents and injuries associated with automobiles. Over the course of a lifetime, all individuals have a 30% chance of being involved in a car accident. Also, there were 5.8 million accidents in 2008. Based on anyone’s numbers, the odds of being involved in a gun accident are far lower.

    3. Now you are just trolling. The analogy is based on the potential, or perceived potential, for harm. Your choice of speeding illustrates a law that is in place for safety similar to not discharging a firearm inside city limits. Those laws already exist. No need to add to those.

    4. Still trolling. I was driving legally well before I was 16 on a farm. There is no restriction to driving on private property. There is also no license or insurance requirement for same on private property.

    5. The point is that a 16 year old is not allowed to possess a firearm.

    6. Based on the statistics, cars are more designed to kill people than personally owned firearms. You are still trolling instead of making a salient point. Specifically, take a look at motorcycle fatalities for people under 21.

    7. There is no federal restriction on the number of firearms that may be purchased. As you state, it depends on the state one lives in. This inconsistency in the application of laws is a great source of contention amongst all sides of the debate. The point here is that anyone, in any state, can purchase as many cars as they wish.

    8. Trolling again. How many legal firearm owners have brought them to schools? I would love to see some real numbers and not just an emotional call. Especially when you accuse the original poster of sophistry. Really?

  26. avatarDrBlast33 says:

    The current gun proposed around the country is like asking to ban all cars other than Toyotas. And if you have a Ford, turn it in… and you can only drive if you have the Toyota. Oh, but if you put a cold air filter or custom exhaust on your toyota, it will be banned also.

  27. avatarproof says:

    #22 “You are not required to provide your fingerprints upon acquiring your drivers license”
    – In California, they do require a thumb print at the DMV these days. Other than that, spot on!

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