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License & Registration Please?

Old IronsightsOld Ironsights Member Posts: 93 ✭✭
(written waaaay back during the Clintoon admin and published in a couple of Newspapers...)

Perhaps it's time to call their bluff.

In his state of disunion show President Clinton, that famous duck hunter, once again voiced the anti-gun mantra of "why don't we treat guns like cars..." and this time I think we in the pro gun community should take heed. I mean this only half factiously. Really.

The President has said, "Should people ought to have to register guns like they register their cars? Do I think that? Of Course I do...", and this time proposed a national "drivers license" (picture ID and all) for gun owners.

Hello! We have been given an absolutely splendid opportunity to stand up to the anti-freedom crowd and CALL THEIR BLUFF. We should take them up on their leader's offer (especially since it will only get shot down - by their side no less) and show the world once and for all how meaningless (and un-thought-out) their anti-gun talking points are.

Let's look at their "Guns = Cars" proposal not as another rights infringement, but (potentially) as a liberalization of the already oppressive gun control system and turn it back in their face. How so? Examine what Driver's licensing & vehicle registration truly entails.

Drivers Licenses.
1: Drivers Licenses are Shall Issue permits with universal reciprocity, requiring only a basic knowledge of safe handling and use regulations.
2: Licenses are NOT required for purchase of a vehicle.
3: Licenses are NOT required for off (public) road use, i.e. agricultural use (farms/farm roads), racetracks, private land, USFS/BIA/BLM dirt trails etc.
4: Drivers education / auto safety classes are MANDATORY in many public school districts.

Vehicle Registration:
1: Registration of a motor vehicle is NOT required unless said vehicle is to be USED on public roads. Custom/show cars, racecars, farm equipment, antiques are exempt unless they are to be commonly USED on public roadways. If I am towing a '32 roadster (or '99 dragster) through town, I cannot be cited for its' lack of registration.
2: Registration of vehicles exceeding "fleet" quantities is not required. I may maintain as many unregistered vehicles on my private property as I desire (provided they do not constitute an "eyesore" or some such other visibly property-devaluing neighborhood gripe.)
3: Registration and extra taxation of High Performance vehicles is NOT required, unless they are to be used on public roads. A 13,000 hp Pratt & Whitney Jet Car (which has no "practical" or "sporting" use) may be owned and kept, unregistered, alongside a VW powered off-road-only dune buggy, and used in non-public spaces with impunity.

Law enforcement of DMV rules:
As we know, there are literally thousands of people out there driving without a license. The only time they get punished is if they are caught violating some other driving law (i.e. causing harm to or endangering another's person or property). Vehicle registration is somewhat easier to spot, as registration is denoted by a sticker of some sort, visible while the vehicle is in use. (Someone sees you use it without a tag, you get a ticket.)
This is all well understood and simple enough, so, let's apply this exact legal paradigm to guns, on a national level, as the panderer in chief (and others) say they want.

"Gun" Licenses: Gun owners would "get":
1: A genuinely nationally reciprocal, truly "shall-issue" concealed carry license. Now, while everyone hates DoL and the Licensing dept., you can't say they just arbitrarily deny licenses (as some "authorizing agencies" for CCW permits have done.) Only a basic knowledge of safe handling and use regulations would be required.
2: Licenses would NOT be required for purchase of a gun.
3: Licenses would NOT be required for non-urban public land use, i.e. agricultural use (hunting/varmint control), ranges, private land, USFS/BIA/BLM hunting areas etc.
4: True gun safety could be taught in schools, not just anti-gun rhetoric.

"Registration" DMV style. Gun owners would "get":
1: A Licensing & registration system that is useful (to the government) only after the fact, i.e. after the shooting stops (ignoring for the moment the fact of door-to-door tracking and confiscation - see California and NYC).
Registration of a firearm would NOT be required unless said firearm is to be USED in a public place. Custom/show guns, race-guns, long-arms or side arms, antiques, etc would be exempt unless they are to be commonly USED in public.
2: A DMV style registration system would deny "arsenal" registration rhetoric just as it currently does not apply to off-road "fleets".
3: Removal of the National Firearms Act (1934) provisions against Class III (high performance/ specialized) weapons. If guns were to be treated as cars, the substantial similarity rules would apply. Just as "High Performance" or specialty vehicles are not restricted, except in their place of use (not on public roads), neither then could the law be justified in restricting the possession of "high performance" (Class III) firearms.

Law Enforcement:
Like Cars, so Guns. It can be truthfully stated that a gun in my possession, regardless of type, in a public place, is NOT being USED, only carried (much like towing a dragster), and therefore it need not be registered nor I licensed. However, should I use that firearm in said public place without License and Registration, I may be subject to penalty upon the assured following inquest . (to be judged by twelve) . perhaps.

Herein we see another potential benefit to "DMV style" gun laws... the principle of reasonable justification and good-Samaritan laws. I may speed, drive an unregistered car, drive without a license, etc in the commission of a life saving act. Judges and juries routinely throw out charges (if charges are even filed) of "rule violation" in such cases. Similar dismissals have obtained (and will continue to obtain) for many "rule violations" of current gun laws. Criminals would obviously receive no such benefit.

Admittedly, this "DMV-ing" argument plays into the Rights vs. Privileges debate, however, it has similarly been argued (with some precedent setting success) that motor vehicle ownership has grown from a privilege to a Right within today's society. (If motor vehicle ownership is now a Right (guaranteed nowhere) then how much more so is gun ownership?)

A dose of Reality:
You and I know that my "best-case" writing of a "motor-vehicle" style of registration & licensing scheme would never be allowed, for precisely the benefits I've mentioned. That's probably a good thing. A Right regulated is a Right denied. (There are NO (non-federal) firearm possession/carry restrictions for the law abiding in Vermont. Theirs is a true right to bear arms.) But it sure would be fun to throw it in the face of the anti-gun establishment and watch them be forced to dump one of their longest standing talking points.
Oh well. Fight the good fight & keep your powder dry.

(OI) student, philosopher, political analyst .and armed.


  • clfergyclfergy Member Posts: 62 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just a quick mesage that I like your idealogy on the whole registration process and it's stupidity.
    Personally, the idea of the government is simply to disarm all of its citizens and call it a day.
    I feel honestly that our government will succeed in it's quest to disarm. No, not aysing I would lay down and take it, just that it will eventually come to that.
    Ask Stalin. He wrote a book on removing the power of the private citizen.
  • dsmithdsmith Member Posts: 902 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    How about NO process of registration or legal loopholes included therein, and we go back to a Constitutional form of government?
  • Old IronsightsOld Ironsights Member Posts: 93 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by dsmith
    How about NO process of registration or legal loopholes included therein, and we go back to a Constitutional form of government?

    That was the point of the article...
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