Over at newrepublic.com, Keith Guzik and Gary T. Marx reckon they’ve found away around Congress’ inability to create federal gun control laws: regulation! “As sociologists who have studied the relationship between technologies and social control in a variety of settings, we believe the history of the automobile shows how such a strategy can make dangerous objects safer, while also preserving private property, individual liberty and personal responsibility.”
Anyone familiar with the “debate” over civilian disarmament knows we’ve been here before. Apparently, Mssrs. Guzik and Marx missed the memo. You know; the one that says that the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the United States Constitution, whereas our Founding Fathers somehow forgot to protect the right to travel in a private vehicle. Or did they?
Legally speaking, gun rights supporters would point to the Second Amendment and argue that no mention of motorized vehicles is made in the country’s founding document. But the Fourth Amendment does pronounce “the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure,” a protection arguably violated by ordinary traffic stops. We as a society have still been able to craft a legal framework that balances this individual liberty with the public interest in vehicle safety.
“Arguably” as in traffic stops must be based on probable cause? I suppose the fact that we already have laws about the legal use of firearms — which don’t infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms — escaped their notice.
Perhaps the best endorsement for regulating guns like cars is that it wouldn’t require congressional approval. States have the latitude to craft the requirements for owning and operating vehicles that suit them best. They could do the same with guns. Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear a challenge to Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons, states should be emboldened to try more innovative approaches on gun control.
So . . . more gun control on the state level! That’s the answer! To the question no one on the gun rights side is asking.