Thursday, August 31, 2006

People don't kill people, Cars do

Reason magazine -- November 1999: "Should we treat guns like cars? Handgun Control Inc. has been saying so for years, and this summer Vice President Al Gore agreed. 'We require a license to drive a car in this nation in order to keep unsafe drivers off the road,' Gore said. 'As president, I will fight for a national requirement that every state issue photo licenses [for handgun buyers]. We should require a license to own a handgun so people who shouldn't have them can't get them.' Prospective licensees should have to 'pass a background test and pass a gun safety test.' Gore predicted that his plan would cause the gun lobby to 'have a fit.'

Actually, if Gore follows through on his promise to treat guns like cars, he will oversee the most massive decontrol of firearms in America since 1868, when the 14th Amendment abolished the Southern states' Black Codes, which prevented freedmen from owning guns. Although anti-gun lobbyists who use the car analogy are pushing for additional controls, laws that really did treat guns like cars would be much less restrictive, on the whole, than what we have now."

This article is timely and bracing in the wake of another mass vehicular homicide.

Read the whole article and then ponder the relative danger of automobiles when compared with guns, smoking or global warming.

Whenever anyone asks me if playing football was dangerous for myself or my son, I always respond that the ride home from football is far more dangerous than anything that happens on the field.

As a society we accept the risks of automobiles because of what cars provide and I fully accept that risk myself. If we accept the risk of death by automobiles it seems logical to ask why other, far less risky lifestyle choices are so vilified and made illegal. It is also interesting to ask what the relative benefits of those "risky" activities might be as well.

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