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Regulate Guns Like Cars

I like driving cars. And as a driver, I have no problem registering my car in each new state I move to, keeping my insurance up to date, having regular required inspections and submitting to a driver’s test to get my driver’s license. Driving a big piece of metal and glass at high speeds should rightly be a big responsibility that folks should take seriously, that should be regulated to ensure appropriate safety for everyone on the road. Owning a gun should require a similar level of responsibility.

As a native Southerner, I like shooting guns. I shot my first gun at Camp McKee, a Boy Scout camp, when I was 12. One of my favorite places to go while living in Houston was the Top Gun shooting range, where it was easy to spend a lot of money on renting out a shooting gallery, buying several boxes of ammunition, and shooting the day away with friends. Both cars and guns are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans every year. Owning and using either one should require strict regulations.

I once had a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol that I named Joe, after a friend of mine who served in Korea. I bought Joe at a gun show in Mississippi, along with several boxes of ammunition, for approximately $300, which I paid in cash. The gun merchant asked for my driver’s license, made a phone call, and I walked out with a weapon less than 15 minutes after walking in. I could have just as easily dreamed up a plan to murder a large group of people that morning, bought a gun that afternoon, and massacred dozens by nightfall.

Like any driver, before even getting my driver’s license, I had to take a written test to get a learner’s permit. This meant I could drive a car, but only with a licensed driver in the car with me. Then after 6 months of waiting, I could take an actual driver’s test with a police officer in my passenger seat, and only become a licensed driver if I drove, parallel parked, and did a turnabout absolutely flawlessly. And if I ever moved to a new state, I would have to get a new driver’s license within 30 days of relocating, keep my license and registration up to date, get yearly inspections, and have liability insurance for my car. The same should be done with guns.

Anyone who wants to own a gun should likewise take a written test on gun safety, proper means of carrying, loading and unloading, and turning the safety on and off to get a gun owner’s permit, though actually shooting it must be done with a licensed gun owner. After an appropriate waiting period, gun owners should take an actual test involving everything from loading and unloading, proper storage, even shooting proficiency. And each gun should be registered in each state it travels to, each gun owner should submit to an annual inspection for their weapon, and each gun purchase should come with mandatory liability insurance. Also, the assault weapons ban should be reinstated, because nobody who isn’t in the military or on the police force should ever need an AK-47 or an AR-15 to hunt deer or protect their families.

Of course, gun lobbyists would likely argue that such regulation is an infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights. I would ask gun lobbyists if their inability to buy an M1A1 Abrams tank is an infringement on their 2nd Amendment rights. Car crashes and guns are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, and both should be regulated appropriately.

I’’m not arguing nobody should be able to own a gun. I’m simply arguing that if you want to operate a device that can take lives with the movement of an index finger, you should be willing to submit to the same regulations as you would by operating a device that can take lives with the turn of a steering wheel.

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