Common Sense and Sensibility

11 Apr

Common Sense and Sensibility

At least 31,940 people died from gun injuries in 2011.

34,367 people died from Motor vehicle accidents  in 2011.

No one knows exactly how many cars there are in America But, there are approximately 250 million registered vehicles on the road today. That figure includes all types of vehicles and approximately 16 million new vehicles are sold annually.

No one knows the exact number of firearms owned by private citizens in the US but In 1995, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimated that there were about 223 million firearms owned by individuals. It’s been almost 20 years since then and that number has surely increased. There can be no definitive answer however, because most states don’t require registration.

But it can be construed that collecting automobiles and firearms are two of America’s most famous and popular pastimes and that they are also equally as dangerous and deadly to not only the Americans that purchase and use them but also to Americans who do not.

To which I submit that the uniform regulation of automobiles in this country has long been in practice and yet has made little if any impact on the availability of automobiles to Americans. We require their registration and visible license plates that allow law enforcement officials to identify the owner immediately with the use of a computer database.

Automobile users must be of legal age and properly licensed. They must take a written test and a practical test to demonstrate that they know how to use the vehicle. They must even take an eye test to prove that they can see where it is they want to go.

They must be able to prove citizenship and residency and purchase mandatory liability insurance in the event that their automobile is responsible for damage to another’s property or person.

We even have federal rules and regulations that apply to the conduct of the driver and occupants of the vehicle requiring the use of seat belts (for their own protection) and limiting the use of phones and alcoholic beverages etc.. inside the vehicle.

We even require users to seek different and additional licenses and take additional competency classes and tests if they desire to use vehicles not considered to be average automobiles (i.e. motor cycles and trucks)

And if a licensed driver abuses or misuses their vehicle…it can be taken from them and they can have their license to use a vehicle suspended or revoked indefinitely.

And yet with all of this regulation automobiles have not been confiscated en mass and Americans have not lost their right to purchase an automobile, nor purchase as many as they would like, nor purchase whatever kind of vehicle they would like. And our extreme regulation of automobiles has not caused us to be  invaded by other countries nor has it led to the takeover of our country by a communist, fascist or totalitarian regime.

And do only outlaws now drive cars?

The current gun control proposals before the House and Senate ask Congress to  expand background checks, improve school safety and combat gun trafficking.

These are bad things? These proposals will sound the death knell for our Constitution? Background checks, school safety and trying to stop gun trafficking is the slippery slope that leads to… where?

…perhaps a better life for our children?

Recent statistics show that there were over 16 million gun applications in 2012. If they were all approved, that would be enough weapons to stock a member of NATO’s armed forces nearly five times over. The system has received over 156 million applications since 1998 and the US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world.

And yet gun advocates and owners are still angry, outraged, belligerent and confrontational even though no government entity  in the history of the United States has ever asked for them to give their guns or their rights to own them, back.

All I know is…If they showed up for their driver’s license and road test with all that anger and attitude…the motor vehicle officer probably wouldn’t give them one until they learned how to show and demonstrate the proper appreciation, reverence and respect for the deadly weapon they were asking to have access to.

14 Responses to “Common Sense and Sensibility”

  1. aurorawatcherak April 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    You’re comparing apples to oranges for one thing. The Constitution does not mention the automobile, so it could be argued that it is not a natural right to own an automobile, although it could also be argued that automobiles, as private property, should not be regulated. The more I think about natural rights, the more I think the second may be the case and the Founders would be writing a Second Declaration of Independence by now and secreting a stockpile of weapons we’re currently discussing for the inevitable fight..Remember what caused the fight at Concord Green? I’ll give you a hint — gun confiscation.

    The 2nd Amendment says very clearly that the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. Is regulation infringement? Unfortunately, it usually is interpreted as preventing someone from doing somewhat with something. Guidelines very quickly become fetters.

    Then there’s history to consider. In California in the 1990s, they announced a plan to register semi-automatic weapons. They assured gun owners that there were no plans to ban semi-autos — just to register them so that everybody would know where they were at. A year later, they came back and announced a ban and sent a letter to all the registered folks telling them when and where to turn in their weapons or face criminals charges by X date. A national registration sets the same scenario on a national scale. It’s a lot easier to confiscate the weapons for government resistance if those who own them have told you (the government) that they own them and where they keep them stored.

    Just because the government has not started a car confiscation campaign does not mean that is not coming. There are already transportation officials discussing whether we need to drive our own cars in light of mass transit and the advent of the autonomously driven auto. We may well see not just registration and regulation of the automobile but a downright ban on private, human driven cars in our life time.

    I know you think you’re being logical, but Founders enshrined gun rights in the Constitution — they wanted to make sure we always understood that it was one of the inalienable rights — not ever to be given up or usurped by the government. Therein lies tyranny.

    • gpicone April 12, 2013 at 2:58 am #

      You are aware that the U.S. Constitution can be amended aren’t you? Besides the people of the USA are bearing over 300 million weapons as I write this. Will that be enough to kill government agents when they come to your home to take away your rights? The British knew where the guns were and the Minutemen knew they were coming… When they come to collect your semi-automatic weapon just shoot them. You know where the government and their armed agents are. Why shouldn’t they know where you are? I don’t see what your problem is?… They didn’t mention cars in the Constitution????? Really?????

      • aurorawatcherak April 13, 2013 at 5:16 am #

        A right is something that cannot be taken away by government. THAT is what my problem is. Rights supercede the government. They are inherent in the dignity of being human. The Constitution mentions there are other rights beyond what was put in the Bill of Rights, but these rights, our Founders felt were important enough to delineate. Freedom of speech, religion, association, the press, firearms, fair trial, security of person, papers and property, security of our homes. There may be a couple I’m forgetting, but the fact remains that those rights that were considered God given were also considered so important that the Founders listed them to assure that those rights would never be infringed by our government.

        If you knew anything about Constitutional history, you’d know that the first 10 amendments were not supposed to be amended. The extra-Constitutional writings are pretty clear on that. These rights are inalienable — government didn’t given them, government cannot take them away.

        Yes, the Constitution can be amended, but not by legislative action. Congress can vote to forward a constitutional amendment, but a super-majority of the state legislatures have to ratify the amendment and many states require a vote of the people for the legislature to ratify. That’s as it should be. Good luck getting that through the process on gun rights or any of the other 10.

        And, after you’re done with that, why don’t you turn your attention to speech or religion or fair trial, because once you’ve alienated one inalienable right, why not suspend the others as well. Of course, you will set off a rebellion when you do it. The point of the constitution was to prevent us needing to fight our government. It’s government by the people, of the people, and for the people — not just for those you deem appropriate, but for all of us.

        Seriously, you really don’t understand liberty, do you?

    • mvschulze April 12, 2013 at 4:00 am #

      This is an impressive series on an important matter, Thanks. My take:

      Somehow I just don’t get it: In a civilized socity, common sense tells me that ownership of dangerous weapons SHOULD BE regulated in a similar manor as, for example, the noted privilege to own and operate automobiles. Age, numerous points of identification and a appropriate record are amongst the criteria to get and maintain that privilege, and it sits pretty well with almost everybody. And as one of the posters below notes, automobiles are NOT intended to be weapons!

      But what I really don’t get is the constant reference to the second amendment in the argument. Really! What does specific elements of an arguably outdated amendment of little relevance have to do with today’s issues. Seems like a weak excuse for a questionable agenda. Come on, grow up! And maybe if we do, many of those 32,000 people and tomorrows children will have the chance.

    • Doug April 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      I…… don’t want to work…I want to bang on my 100 round drum all day.

      Hey, I don’t mean to be flippant. I want to take your argument seriously, but when the touting of any public policy proposal is met formulaically with, “Therein lies tyranny” people tune out.

      Your California antidote, makes a valid point concerning where legislation intends to go but often ends up. On this I understand your concern.

      But when ” We The People” decide to look anew at existing laws or statues a process begins, a back and forth takes place (or should), and after debate, tweaking of language, and compromise, it’s a thumbs up or down.

      Now I know the above about process seems simple…but it’s not. Here’s why. Yesterday the NRA scored the Senate vote to reach cloture. By score I mean, as a lobby they would praise or punish any Senator who didn’t vote the way the NRA wanted.

      Now understand this was not a vote on any particulars of any legislative act or amendment. This vote was to allow a “debate” about those possibilities. Letting people, through their elected representatives, have a voice, have a say on a pressing issue of the day.

      What could be more American?

      To conclude that a United State Senator should be politically punished for voting to simple allow an open and public debate on governance, well… Therein lies tyranny.

  2. RAB April 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    They didn’t want to make sure we would understand that, aurora; they wanted to placate the slave-holding states by assuring them that they would be able to put down a slave rebellion.
    Every other right in the Bill of Rights has been limited in one way or another (or, as in the case of speech and assembly, several). What makes #2 so special? Is it more or less valuable to a democratic society than free speech, free worship (or non-worship), free assembly, and a free press?
    This is a brilliant post.

  3. Barbara Backer-Gray April 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    This is getting better all the time. I’m reblogging!

  4. Barbara Backer-Gray April 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on Resident Alien — Being Dutch in America and commented:
    This blogger has had several posts now about the gun issue, and he makes excellent points and comparisons. The conversation in the comments is also pretty representative.

  5. tric April 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Oh dear. You get 10/10 for trying to re educate! We don’t even have an armed police force in Ireland. Mind you we have a load of mad drug dealing families not to mention the fact we had to introduce decommissioning to get rid of IRA and UDA paramilitary group guns. And we have a population of only 4 million! Men and their guns. Now that I think about it that is not fair as just this week we had a trial of a female assassin. She was caught having killed one man and had 6 more lined up! I give up. There will always be guns but I’m with you do not let just anyone have them.

  6. Terri L. Spilman April 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    I really appreciate all the thought you are putting into the gun control issue. Your automobile ownership comparison is brilliant. Soda and junk food even have more regulation than guns in some cities. You made a great point: “Background checks, school safety and trying to stop gun trafficking is the slippery slope that leads to… where?…perhaps a better life for our children?”

    I am so tired of gun enthusiasts using The Second Amendment as a security blanket. There is absolutely no reason any civilian needs to own an automatic weapon – for defense or recreation. There are plenty of alternate guns and weaponry in which to “bear arms”. No one wants to take the right away. However, like with any right, there must be limitations when the well-being of the people are at stake. I just don’t understand why this is not common sense to all.

  7. A Voice April 11, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    A simple comment and a simple response that I have, honestly, seen mentioned not once. If anyone reading this cannot find agreement with it they may very well be the worst kind of dumb fuck stupid:

    Many things in the United States require licenses to legally operate but let’s just look at one. In my home state of New Jersey, I was among the last group of teenagers to be able to receive their drivers license at the age of 17. (Somehow this is a state’s rights issue, but I’ll leave that bit of remarkable idiocy out of the picture. I’ll just gesture to it here and leave it at that. You should, too.) At the age of 17 I could drive, however I required a license and had to take special tests. It was also emphasised that driving was privilege and not a right, however much driving is truly integral to everyday life.

    I need a license to operate a motor vehicle and had to be tested to obtain it, however no such rationale exists in the realm of firearms. Motor vehicles are meant for the transportation of people and goods, firearms are meant to kill living beings (from game to other people). Only one group de facto requires a license to operate and tests to obtain said license. Why is it the case that it is a privilege to drive to work and yet it is my right as an American to be able to purchase an implement, largely unregulated, which is meant to kill?

    It’s not apples and oranges. Cars can kill (road rage, stupidity at the wheel, Oklahoma City Bombing, et cetera) but are not meant to, firearms can kill and are meant to. One and only one require real testing and a license. If you don’t think this picture is more than a bit skewed you’re too dumb fuck stupid to participate in the conversation, period.

    We don’t need to take guns away but if we can’t meaningfully regulate the use and ownership of things that are meant only to kill, we’re a very sick people.

    • A Voice April 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

      Need. Edit. Button.

      The first line should read:

      “A simple comment and a simple response that I have, honestly, seen mentioned not once save here.”

  8. fjpeter1961 April 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Thank you for being a voice of love and reason, my friend.

  9. Durell Anthony Gaston April 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    “It is time that America made sense when it comes to gun ownership. It is time that American treated the gun ownership with the same level of required responsibility that we foist on John Q. Public when it comes to owning a vehicle.

    It is time that the America require responsibility when it comes to gun ownership. The right to own a gun should be adjoined with responsibility to own a gun. It is time to disconnect the mass shootings from the gun rights and look at the fact that gun ownership should also require that all guns be registered, licensed, insured, and all that own them should display a level of proficiency. We ask no less of vehicle ownership; it is time that America require at least that much responsibility for something as serious as gun ownership.

    After all, a car is only dangerous when it is not used as intended, but guns are tragically and irreversibly dangerously when used exactly as it is intended. Guns only serve one purpose; to kill, damage, or destroy whatever it is pointed at. Rethink gun laws (or a lack thereof), NOW!” -

    Great post and I concur with your assertions in this post, and in fact, I wrote something similar back in February. I am glad that i found your blog, it is concise and well written.

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