Gun control is a perennial topic on my social media accounts. And soon, sure as anything, someone will bring up “we license cars” and “we should license guns like we do cars.” Well, leaving aside the idea that arms, including firearms, are a fundamental right, expressly guaranteed in the Constitution and cars are not, people don’t realize just what “license guns like cars” would mean.
Simply put, if you really mean it, if you mean “like cars” then I’ll take that “compromise” right now. Right. this. instant.
If we license guns like cars, then, first, licenses are only required for cars and the operators thereof, that will be operated on the public streets. No license required for use on private property. (Note: Don’t bother challenging me on this; I used to drive autocross and have not only seen, but driven, more than a few cars that are not licensed, titled, or otherwise registered because they were never intended for use on public streets. In fact, most of them weren’t legal for public streets.)
Licenses will be available to individuals as young as 16, learners permits (for operating with supervision on the public streets) as young as 15 (depending on the State).
Licenses valid in all 50 States and every municipality within those States.
Licenses valid, by treaty, in most foreign nations (An “international drivers’ license” is simply a translation of your State drivers’ license into various foreign languages so the local law enforcement can know what your State licensed you to drive–has no legal weight in and of itself).
No federal license required for running a business buying and selling.
No background checks for purchase. Indeed, if you don’t intend to operate it on public streets no paperwork at all beyond a bill of sale (and that’s just to protect you in case the previous owner wants to claim you stole it).
No license required to transport on public streets, concealed or not, (Those cars at the autocross? They didn’t get there by apportation–they were all transported on public streets, many in ways that would count as “concealed” for firearms in at least some States). Oh, and at least one state considered (transported in a vehicle) exactly the same, legally, as carried on ones person for firearms so it’s entirely valid to consider a trailered vehicle comparable to a firearm on ones person for purposes of comparison. After all, if the State considers the comparison valid for one, then it’s valid for the other, if we’re really “licensing guns like cars”.
Dire emergence a valid proactive defense for an unlicensed operator. If you have a real, life-threatening emergency that calls for the use of your item, then that justifies even an unlicensed user using an unlicensed item on the public streets.
No limits on size, power, or operating mechanism for items that are not to be used on the public streets.
Oh, and because it bears repeating: no license required for item or operator if not being used on public streets, and even then “dire emergency” justifies non-licensed use on those public streets.
If we “licensed guns like cars” the only time you would ever need a license is if you were going to operate (drive , shoot ) the object (car, gun) on public property. And dire, life-threatening emergency would be an affirmative defense of operation even without a license.
So, the only time a license would be needed would be for non-emergency use of the firearm. I.e. hunting and sport shooting. None would be required for self defense since that, by definition, is “dire emergency”.
“License guns like cars” would be an unqualified improvement on the current situation from the perspective of gun owners because in every aspect where cars are restricted, guns are restricted every bit as much.
So, to make it clear, if we “licensed guns like cars” the only time one would ever need a license is for shooting of guns on the public streets and an actual emergency (like, say, a self-defense situation) would still permit unlicensed use. In short, there would be no need ever to license the ownership or carrying of guns.