Why Guns Are Not Like Cars

I’ve seen the argument that guns are merely a tool like a car and that we don’t ban cars because some people drive drunk and kill innocent people. This argument is misguided for at least three reasons.

First, unlike a gun, a car’s primary utility is transportation. When used recklessly, people can get hurt. A gun’s primarily utility is to penetrate objects, either people in the case of war, animals in the case of hunting, or targets in the case of sports. When a gunman kills people with a gun, he is using it for for the purpose it was intended. Even when a driver gets behind heavy machinery in an impaired state, he or she is still primarily using the vehicle to get from point A to point B, albeit in an irresponsible manner.

Second, we do regulate car usage. You need a license to drive as well as proper insurance. We have laws that prohibit drunk driving. And via state registrations, we limit the types of vehicles people can drive.

Third, the Second Amendment provides specific instructions that gun usage should be regulated. Since our political sensibilities apparently haven’t evolved much since the late 18th century, cars didn’t merit a mention. But interestingly, neither did horses and wagons. Because of course not. The founding fathers, like most people today, recognized that guns are different from means of transport. One explicitly needed rights and regulations around it, while the other did not.

The founding fathers, like most people today, recognized that guns are different from means of transport.

There is a counter-argument to be made. Regulations against, say, drunk driving have likely changed people’s behaviors because they don’t want the legal consequences of a DUI. However, unlike Nikolas Cruz, mass shooting perpetrators often die with their victims. A harsher penalty isn’t a deterrent. But this argument, too, can be turned on its head. If you can’t regulate people with a death wish, you must instead focus on the tools they use, ie, guns. Take away their ability to kill more people via a return to the assault weapons ban. And if legislators tell you that’s too¬†much hassle, remind them that so is waiting in line at the DMV to register a car.

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