If Only Guns Were Regulated Like Cars

Last week I was Milwaukee-bound, heading for the NRA Carry Guard Expo in my BMW, listening to some of J.S. Bach’s Two Part Inventions. I was tooling along at a speed that was (ahem) perfectly legal and safe given the general conditions. I downshifted to pass some guy in a Chrysler, the shift barely necessary with 300 horses chomping at the bit in a wide, twin turbo-supplied power band, and that’s when I felt the bump.

And the vibration. And heard the awful grinding noise from below.

“Aw, hell!” I shouted, worried that I’d just suffered a trip-ending breakdown with a repair bill heading toward five figures. I hit the flashers, eased the car into the right lane and slowed down. Oddly, the Service Engine idiot light remained dark, and no other messages appeared in the instrument cluster. I seemed to have full control…but I could clearly hear something dragging loudly on the ground.

Fortunately, I was only half a mile from the nearest exit. I proceeded cautiously and pulled into the parking lot of a convenient gas station. Laying down on the ground, I directed my trusty Surefire flashlight underneath the vehicle and saw that the plastic engine underbody splash shield had come off.

Well, half of it had, anyway. The remaining half was secured by screws in the back, but wasn’t so good up front. A little air pressure forced the whole thing down to the ground and the plastic started grinding away. As far as I could tell, nothing else was damaged.

A quick internet search (ain’t technology grand?) located a couple of nearby garages; clearly I was going to need a lift to remove the rest of the panel. I grabbed the roll of duct tape I keep in the trunk for just such an occasion, taped it down as best I could from the sides, then walked into the gas station to wash my hands.

When I completed my ablutions, I glanced in the mirror and realized that I was now openly carrying a firearm. Unintentionally.

Apparently the act of repeatedly reaching under the Bimmer while lying on the ground had caused my T-shirt to ride up over my trusty TT Gunleather holster and bunch up on the inside, exposing my new GLOCK 26 for all the world to see.

No harm, no foul. I dried my hands, untucked my shirt, and drove a few miles down the road to Hometown Garage in Kalamazoo, where Phil, the owner, had my little red coupe up on a rack and the offending panel removed before I could finish getting a hot cup of coffee from the Keurig machine in the waiting room. (And he graciously did it for free — thanks, Phil!)

As I continued my journey to the Badger State, it occurred to me that I was pretty lucky, and not just because I would’ve gladly paid Phil $50 for five minutes of work if he’d asked for it. No, I was lucky because my car problem happened while I was in Michigan. Two hours later, I’d be in the Land of Lincoln where, to put it kindly, Illinois law discourages non-residents from carrying firearms.

You can transport a concealed handgun inside the vehicle with a valid out-of-state license in Illinois, but the firearm needs to locked in the vehicle if you exit. Quickly jumping out of the car and doing a duct tape repair job (which lasted a mile at 30 MPH, in case you were curious) without leaving my GLOCK in the car would have put me on the wrong side of Illinois law. That could have cost me up to one year in the county jail, a $2,500 fine, and most likely, forfeiting some upcoming employment opportunities along the way.

But at least in Illinois, the message to non-resident gun owners is clear and largely consistent: you suck, and we hate you. Fine. I know where I stand, at least. When I visited South Carolina earlier in the month for a little Hilton Head R&R and to watch the eclipse, the matter was more complicated.

Michigan is one of the twenty-three privileged states whose firearms licenses the sovereign Palmetto State deigns to recognize, so that worked in my favor. As it happens, though, open carry is just as illegal in South Carolina as it is in Illinois, New York or California (or, bizarrely, Florida). We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Coming up on my travel agenda: Oregon, where most uitlanders are denied the right to do anything but openly carry…and open carrying may be regulated by municipal whim. I’ll also be going to Baltimore (cue the hysterically raucous laughter).

I’m an attorney, for pity’s sake, and even I find it hard to keep up with other states’ various gun laws. Most legislatures treat firearms laws as a way to virtue-signal to their constituencies, sneaking vaguely-worded language in here, hiding a firearms law provision in a section of the code that has no other connection to guns over there.

And don’t forget the Code of Federal Regulations, a treasure-trove of laws written by unelected bureaucrats. Between it all, the firearms laws of the federal government and the fifty states are a proverbial million lines of spaghetti code, nigh-on impossible to untangle, just waiting to ensnare the innocent, as Shaneen Allen learned the hard way.

The anti-gun lobby disingenuously cries that they just want guns to be regulated the same way as automobiles. But, if they actually believed that, they’d support national gun license reciprocity. When I was driving out to Wisconsin and back, the biggest automotive legal issue on my mind was what the speed limit was, and whether or not I could legally turn right on red.

I didn’t fret about parking the car next to a restaurant that got 50% of its revenues from alcohol sales, or whether Indiana would recognize my out-of-state driver’s license. Illinois didn’t confine my Michigan-tagged vehicle to the Dan Ryan expressway while going through Chicago.

So yeah, let’s regulate guns a little more like cars. For many legal gun carriers, it would be a big improvement.

comments

  1. avatar JeffR in IL says:

    > But at least in Illinois, the message to non-resident gun owners is clear and largely consistent: you suck, and we hate you.

    To be fair, all of these statements are true:
    – Illinois hates non-resident gun owners
    – Illinois hates gun owners
    – Illinois hates non-residents
    – Illinois hates residents
    – Illinois hates you most of all.. for every individial you…

    1. avatar Hellguard says:

      Because you suck and Illinois hates you.

      ((Please tell me someone gets that reference))

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Heckler & Koch (HK)…

        1. avatar CS says:

          Insert your laws backwards……

      2. avatar MojoRonin says:

        I wish the International Lord Of Hate would contribute an article or two to TTAG.

  2. avatar Joe R. says:

    IL governor just signed a sanctuary bill. F em all.

    They don’t get to decide the U.S. immigration policy or what laws to uphold.

    I have one policy in this regard:

    IF AMERICA IS YOURS TO GIVE-AWAY, IT’S MINE TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOU.

    I’ve called my representative and asked for a Congressional b1t<h slap on them.

  3. avatar Norincojay says:

    If only we could regulate voting like cars. Like the gun tax we could also have poll taxes again. To raise “revenue” to help stop election hacking.

    We could also regulate and tax the right to assemble. People that want to protest need to register and purchase a ticket before hand. That “revenue” will be used to fund the increase in law enforcement that is necessary at protests.

    Seems like a good idea. The gun tax does set a nice precedent. Taxing a right is fine if it’s to bring in “revenue.”

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “We could also regulate and tax the right to assemble.”

      That’s exactly what happens for ‘protests’ in Washington, DC.

      Permit required to have it, and depending on how many show up, they may require you to provide portable toilets.

      Since they ain’t free, it’s a defacto tax of sorts, no?

  4. avatar Westwood says:

    135i very nice, the N54 is a great engine

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Stage 2 in a convertible is better, 355 hp and 374 fp torque. And BLUE!

      1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        Funny thing — when I bought it, I kept saying to myself, “Yeah, as soon as the warranty’s up, I’m getting a JB4 for 400 horses!” Four years later, I said to myself, “I’m not driving this thing at 75% stock, what the hell do I need more boost for?”

        I might spring for a DINAN suspension whenever the OE struts wear out.

        Also: convertible, hell! When I bought it, I lived in Pennsylvania. Now I live in Michigan. The sunroof is just fine.

  5. avatar Rumblestrip says:

    A BMW in its natural habitat, on a lift being fixed.
    And like all BMW driver, he never mentioned using his signals for lane changes.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      I’m on my second BMW. Other than routine stuff like fluid changes, brake pads, and tires, I’ve only had to go in for a highbeam switch that got stuck (they replaced it for free as part of a recall).

      But I have a real BMW, not one of these four-wheeled latecomers. :p

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Shows what you know: there was no lane change involved!

  6. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Plastic splash shield on a BMW?

    Sorry, had to breakaway for a laughing fit.

    Plastic parts on the underside of a premier import auto is like having gun parts secured by Loctite. You gotta be kiddin’.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Plastic splash shield on a BMW?”

      Very useful.

      It ‘cleans up’ airflow on the underside at speed, making for lower drag and noise.

      And weighs very little…

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        EDIT – The lower drag for a cheap piece of plastic makes for a very cost effective way to increase fuel economy…

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And it is a splash shield, not a hundred pounds of protection for offroading. And at 57,000 miles I just had my FIRST repair, after an intake component failed and lost me a couple hundred horses, car still carried me 800 miles home, cruising in quiet comfort at 80. Enjoy your chevy.

        1. avatar Southof16 says:

          Well I have almost 90k on my Chevy Cruze Diesel and it’s never been in for repairs. Never. Also, I get around 43 mpg when I’m crusing at 80. Enjoy your car that cost at least twice what mine did.

        2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

          @Southof16: Cost of living is high, but I think it’s worth it. 😀

  7. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    The car argument is one of the stupidest ever. I love it when antis bring this up, it’s easy to put them down.

  8. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Then you’d get a big subsidy for building electric ones if you name was Elon Musk? And buying electric ones if you were in CA, CO, etc?

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Yeah, $2200 state tax credit on railguns. That’s the ticket.

  9. avatar John Davies says:

    Oregon doesn’t hate non residents, there are a number of rural Sheriffs (Grant County has one) who will happily take your money and write you a non-resident permit. You will receive it by mail a month later….The clincher is that you must appear in person to apply, OK, that is understandable, but in five years you must return to that very same office to renew in person. Not so great, if you live hundreds of miles or more away from Oreygone.

    I let mine lapse rather that drive six hours in a special trip.

    Stupid….

    John Davies
    Spokane WA

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      That’s only for adjoining states (WA, ID, and CA), unfortunately.

      1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        Yeah, Eric’s right, unfortunately. It’s one thing for the sovereign state of Oregon not to have reciprocity with anyone, but it’s egregious to do that while denying Americans who don’t live in CA, WA, ID, or NV the ability to apply for a non-resident license AND refusing to preempt open carry bans by any two bit municipality whose city council wants to grandstand.

        1. avatar Troubled Soul says:

          I was hoping that you were on to something.
          I end up in OR/ Portland and I can’t carry.

          So I went to the Web page of the sheriff in Grants county and it is saying that they have suspended our non-resident CHL program indefinitely

          There were only two counties that I found that say that they will issue Non Resident permits.
          And then only if you are a border state.

          Columbia County says they will to WA residents
          Klamath County says they will to border states.

          Of course while OR is a shall issue state, for non residents it is at the whim of the county sheriff.

        2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Thanks for the correction, I didn’t know NV was included. OFF (Oregon Firearms Federation, http://www.oregonfirearms.org/) and GOA try to keep pressure on the politicians but sadly we keep moving the wrong way. Their efforts at least slow the descent, but I think it’s literally criminal that there’s no legal carry option for other out of state visitors to carry in places like Portland that outlaw open carry.

  10. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    Gun control enthusiasts who want guns to be regulated similarly to motor vehicles overlook a number of differences besides inter-state recognition of operator licenses:

    -No limit on purchase and use by convicted felons or other “prohibited persons”. No background check required to purchase from a licensed dealer.
    -No age limit on purchase, no registration required for purchase, pretty much no restrictions at all on what you do with it as long as it’s kept on your own property.
    -License by 17 in all states.
    -No limit on horsepower, top speed, or other “assault vehicle” features.
    -No limits on how many you can buy in a set time period.

  11. avatar Pete says:

    Haha, BMW. Bet you didn’t use a turn signal when passing the Plymouth.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Do they have turn signals? I’ll have to go look.

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Yeah, that’s me right behind you while you’re cruising at 64.5 MPH in the left lane with my LEFT turn signal on, trying to get you to pass the damn semi we’re in formation with already so me and the other ten cars piled up behind can go.

  12. avatar Nanashi says:

    I don’t want my guns to have to meet emissions standards that aren’t physically possible yet.

  13. avatar TriggeredDictator says:

    Automatic transmission ~ full auto. Sounds nice.

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      That says little about the mandatory noise limiting on cars these days. Talk about gun muffling.

  14. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Johannes,
    If you need transport to or from the airport, let me know. Dan and Robert have my contact info.

  15. avatar FedUp says:

    Illinois hates you.
    Illinois sucks.
    So why go to Illinois?

    http://www.ssbadger.com/

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Because driving to Milwaukee through the Upper Peninsula doubles the road time, and the schedule of the Lake Michigan ferry didn’t work with the times I was able to travel.

  16. avatar Micah says:

    It would be nice to legally loan my truck to a friend to use for hunting this weekend without having to go do some transfer paperwork at a dealership. Oh, wait, I can do that. My shotgun on the other hand… I have no idea if I can.

  17. avatar Southern Cross says:

    How about we treat cars like guns. In my part of the world this would involve:

    – having to make a request to the DMV to purchase the car. Anything above a micro economy car will require justification on the request. The approval will take AT LEAST 28 working days as a cooling off period. The purchase approval is valid for 90 days.
    – cars can only be sold or transferred through registered dealers. Private person to person sales must be transferred through a registered dealer.
    – any car that can seat more than 5 people, has an automatic transmission, more than six cylinders, has turbo or supercharging, or other special features requires a special license and is subject to strict usage and parking requirements.
    – 4x4s are more restricted than a special features vehicle also requiring written proof from the property owner where the vehicle will be taken off road submitted to both the DMV and police.
    – vehicle usage restricted only to approved roads and pre-nominated parking locations. Any usage outside these locations will result in immediate forfeiture of the vehicle, license immediately revoked, and arrest pending charges and prosecution.
    – purchasing fuel requires your license to be examined by the vendor and all details of your license recorded with the sale.

    Sounds like Californian Progressives and NSW Greens party wet dream.

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      I like your idea, but you got it a little wrong. If car laws mirrored gun laws, inexpensive small import cars would almost be completely banned, and require a waiting period, while large SUVs and pickup trucks would be considerably less regulated because they could be used for hunting.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        I’m mirroring the New South Wales firearms laws being applied to cars. Your Mileage May Vary.

        1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

          Ah, Southern Cross == girt by sea, got it.

  18. avatar Robert says:

    In the comparison between firearms and automobiles I find the liberal mindset interesting. If someone destroys property, injures or kills someone while failing to comply with laws by speeding, failing to stop or yield as required by traffic regulations, driving while not paying attention, driving an unsafe vehicle, etc. It is termed an “accident”. On the other hand if someone purchases, owns, carries concealed, or uses a firearm to defend their life or the life of others in compliance with the constitution and laws, it is some sort of crime.

  19. avatar James R says:

    People seem to forget that you can buy a car at any age with no license and drive it on private property with no insurance or registration. It only becomes an issue when you go out onto public roads and put other people at risk – and rightfully so, cars are incredibly dangerous. Unlike a gun which sits inanimate on your hip, when you have a car in public you are actively using it.

  20. avatar RobinGoodfellow says:

    I wish guns were regulated like cars. For instance:
    *operator permits are “shall issue” in every state
    *an operator permit issued in one state is good in all states
    *if you purchase one only for use on your property, and don’t take it in public, no government registration or insurance is required (this may vary by state)
    *at 15 you can get a permit to operate one as long as you’re with a permitted adult
    *at 16 you can get a permit to operate one on your own
    *at 18 you may purchase your own
    *failure to renew your license on time, or to keep required insurance, are “paperwork” violations that typically don’t result in jail time, only a fine

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