Why is it that no matter how much you correct, inform, reason, and debate with gun grabbers, they continue to contend long-discredited, disingenuous crap in order to promote their odious agenda? It seems there’s a cabal of soccer mommies out there whose sole mission is to become the next Shannon Watts. Frankly, they’re unoriginal and uninformed, and yet some newspapers pick up their spew and run with it as if they’ve discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. Such is the case with the latest anti-gun mommy in my own backyard, who recently penned a column for The Roanoke Times entitled, “Why should it be easier to own and operate a gun than a car?”
Let’s put aside the obvious stupid of this question, and do a little fisking.
Melynda Dovel Wilcox lives in Alexandria, and she’s the mommy of two high school students. Alexandria is in my backyard, so I take a keen interest in any kind of disinformation being spread “for the children.” She writes:
In no other country is driving and owning a car as quintessential to the culture and lifestyle as it is in the U.S. So it’s no surprise that, for Virginia teenagers, turning 16-plus-three-months is noteworthy because they can get their driver’s license. With two 17-year-olds in my household, I’m well-versed in the steps required for the commonwealth to grant this privilege. It’s an arduous process — rightly so — and as a citizen I’m grateful to the government for implementing these measures to better protect all drivers and pedestrians.
Here Wilcox makes an interesting statement. Driving on public roads is, in fact, a privilege. Many will confuse the right to travel with the right to drive, and that’s just not right. U.S. jurisprudence confirms this fact in Miller v. Reed. There is no right to drive a vehicle on public roads enumerated in the Constitution, and since driving a motor vehicle on public roads is, in fact, a privilege, the government is well within its right to regulate it.
Wilcox then goes through a litany of allegedly “arduous” steps one must take to become a legal driver in Virginia.
Personally, having had two kids go through the process, I don’t think it’s all that onerous, but then again I’m not a spoiled Alexandria mommy, who thinks attending a 90 minute session with her kid (twice) to cover parental responsibilities of having a teenage driver in my house, is a terrible imposition.
First, all 10th-graders receive 36 hours of classroom driver education in their required health and physical education classes.
Students can apply for their learner’s permit at age 15 ½ and must produce original documents proving their identification and residency. They must also pass a knowledge exam and a vision screening.
Next, provisional drivers must log 45 hours of driving time with an adult passenger and take a behind-the-wheel course consisting of fourteen 50-minute in-car sessions from a commercial driving school. One program in Northern Virginia, I Drive Smart, costs $499 and is taught by current and retired police officers. During the final session, the instructor administers the driving test and issues a temporary license. Not counting time spent on homework for the classroom portion and studying for the Department of Motor Vehicles exam, that’s more than 82 hours of instruction and training.
It’s amazing how first world problems can impact one’s worldview! Eighty-two hours of instruction is a little more than 10 days. Ten days’ training to operate a complex machine made of steel, glass, and plastic, capable of traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour – a machine that was involved in 32,719 deaths in 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Hey, Melynda! Know what it takes to gain the privilege to drive in Germany?
First, you have to pass an onerous theory test, which a full third of test-takers fail. You need a vision and a road test, as well as first aid training. That’s right – first aid – an eight-hour class. An actual license is handed out when the driver turns 18, by the way. None of this 16 and three months garbage. Oh, and by the way – you bitch about a $500 cost to train your precious snowflake to drive? It costs about €1400 in Germany. Still think that’s onerous? You’ll need a minimum of twelve 90 minute on the road training sessions, four of which have to be on the Autobahn and at speed, and about three of those have to be at night. That’s a minimum By the way, if you take your training in an automatic transmission, you’ll only be licensed to drive that. Driving a manual transmission automobile when you’ve only qualified on an automatic is considered driving without a licence.
These extended driving sessions are followed by the so-called advanced, test-preparation phase, containing further exercises and preparation for the test itself. In all cases, the instructor may only terminate instruction when he is convinced that the learner driver involved has actually acquired the knowledge and skills required to pass the test.
The goal of driving instruction is no longer just to impart knowledge and techniques, but also to put across the social and ethical values, in other words to inculcate behavioral patterns and attitudes which are no less significant in reducing accident risks than the actual driving skills themselves.
The driving test consists of a theoretical and a practical part. An officially recognized expert or examiner for motor vehicle traffic is responsible for the entire test. If a candidate fails, the test can be repeated. Candidates are only admitted to the practical test when they have passed the theoretical part.
The theoretical test uses multiple-choice questions to establish whether the candidate has the necessary knowledge. A candidate passes the test if he does not exceed the permissible number of errors laid down in the test statutes. The theoretical tests should, in principle, be carried out in German, but the basic material may also be examined in various foreign languages.
The practical test consists of a test drive which includes certain basic driving tasks. The tasks, which are laid down in the test statues for each class of licence, are intended to demonstrate that the candidate is capable of properly operating and controlling the vehicle. The test drive is, above all, intended to demonstrate that even in difficult traffic situations the candidate is capable of safely driving the vehicle and adapting his driving to the situation.
The driving test is also carried out on country roads and motorways. A candidate passes the practical test if the basic driving tasks are accomplished without error and during the test drive he does not commit any grave errors or accumulate an excess of minor errors.
Still want to complain how hard it is, Melynda? Didn’t think so. Moving on.
To own a car in Virginia, you must register the vehicle in both the state and local jurisdictions, and registration must be renewed annually or bi-annually. The owner must carry liability insurance or pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee, and have annual safety inspections performed on the car, and in some areas, periodic emissions inspections.
Wrong. To DRIVE a car in Virginia, you must register it. You don’t need insurance to merely own it, and you don’t need to register it if it’s merely sitting on your property. There’s a difference.
The comparison between car ownership and gun ownership is remarkably apt.
No. It’s not. One is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and the other is a car.
There were about 254 million cars registered in the U.S. in 2012, and varying estimates of 270 million to 310 million guns. In 2012, there were roughly 33,500 traffic fatalities and almost 32,000 people died from gun violence.
How many of these were suicides? Oh, two-thirds? You know what a suicide is? Intentional. Can we say “disingenuous comparison,” boys and girls? I knew you could!
But there are some startling differences: Traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled have been on a downward trend since 1963 due to safer cars, safer roads and better-trained drivers. In some states there are fewer highway deaths now than there were in the 1940s. By contrast, between 2000 and 2013, the number of mass shootings and resulting casualties rose dramatically, according to an FBI study released last fall. (There have been 135 school shootings since Newtown.)
I knew we would eventually get to the lies, obfuscations, and lies. Oh, did I say “lies” twice? Using Everytown’s misleading statistics doesn’t bolster your credibility, Melynda. Neither does quoting an FBI study which the media clubbed to death like a baby seal without actually understanding the misleading verbiage in the study.
And then there’s the vast difference in requirements to own and operate a gun. No permit is required to purchase or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun in Virginia. No registration is required either, except for machine guns.
Guess what, Melynda! No permit is required to purchase a car either. You need a permit and a license to DRIVE a motor vehicle on a public road, but if I want to keep a vehicle in my garage, or drive it on my private property, I can! You obviously don’t know the difference between “drive” and “own.” Perhaps an English lesson is in order?
Gun sales at licensed gun dealers require a criminal background check, but private sales or sales at gun shows by private individuals do not, despite repeated efforts in the state legislature to change that law.
The law at gun shows is the same as the law anywhere else in Virginia, Melynda. Differentiating private sales at gun shows from anywhere else shows how ineptly you manipulate words.
In short, the Commonwealth of Virginia has no information about whether gun owners know how to safely store a gun and ammo, for example, how many guns they own, or whether they have committed a violent misdemeanor or have a history of domestic violence.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has no business knowing how many guns one owns – or how many knives – or how many cars, for that matter. As we said previously, no one needs to register a car if they don’t plan to drive it on public roads. The state also doesn’t know how many motor vehicle accidents any given driver has had, UNLESS they were reported to police and the DMV. Care to guess how many Virginians commit hit and runs, or merely settle the cost of repairs among themselves?
One wonders how many mass shootings and other gun deaths could be prevented if prospective gun buyers were required to have just eight hours of training from police officers—one-tenth of that required for drivers;
Police officers such as this?
Hate to tell you this, Cupcake, but you quite obviously don’t know most gun owners. Most gun owners train much more than just 8 hours with professionals much more skilled than the “professional enough” DEA agent giving a presentation on gun safety in that video. We shoot consistently. We practice, because shooting and handling firearms is a skill – a perishable one. Additionally, if you think a lack of training is responsible for mass shootings, you may want to check your facts.
Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista… you know what they had in common? Mental health issues. If you think registering firearms will somehow prevent violent acts by crazies, I have this bridge…
if they were required to register their guns each year (with a new background check performed each time); and if they were required to carry liability insurance, with insurance proceeds used to compensate victims of gun violence and their families.
You know how many are killed by accidental shootings? About 600 per year, according to the CDC. That’s what liability insurance covers. Since about 21,000 of the firearm fatalities are suicides, I doubt most insurance companies will cover that.
None of this would pose a significant burden on hunters or other recreational gun owners.
No? An average pistol costs several hundred dollars. Add to it registration fees, training fees, and insurance premiums, and you’ve just made a tool of self defense cost prohibitive for the people who need it most. People in not so nice neighborhoods that you and your shielded cohorts in Alexandria only tremble at the thought of entering. Those poor people, who want to protect their families, may not be able to afford to do so, because Melynda thinks that the right to keep and bear arms only pertains to hunters and recreational shooters.
As much as the DMV is loathed and derided, certainly almost no one decides against buying a car because the registration process is too onerous. It’s likewise absurd to allow people to own and operate a gun without any safeguards in place to protect ordinary citizens and innocent children.
You don’t allow me to exercise my rights, you pernicious, misinformed fascist! I protect my innocent children with that tool of self defense you think you and your petty tyrannical pals think you have the authority to allow me to keep.
Every year, legions of teenagers happily give up 82 hours of free time in exchange for the privilege of driving. It’s the price that our society has deemed appropriate and acceptable to advance the common good. Isn’t it time that we make the same trade-offs for guns as we do for cars?
I’ll make you a deal, Melinda. Let’s regulate cars the way we regulate guns, OK?
Your precious teenagers won’t be able to purchase a car until they are 18. Sorry, Punkins! You’ll have to wait. They will have to pass a criminal background check, and if they committed a crime, got caught with some dope, or aren’t able to prove their residency, they will not be able to make said purchase. They want to buy an extra fast sports car? They don’t need that, but they will have to get a special license to own one, and they will have to be 21 years of age to purchase one. Every time they purchase a vehicle, they will have to undergo a background check, fingerprints in some states, and fill out a form that will be kept on file with the auto dealership for the duration of that business’ existence. And if the State Police come back with an inconclusive check, or they have a record, or mental health issues, no-go on that car boys and girls! Oh, and in some jurisdictions, you’ll have to wait three days before purchasing said car.
Subject of an active misdemeanor or felony arrest warrant from any state? Sorry. Can’t buy that car.
Are you 28 years old or younger, have ever been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of offense of a delinquent act, which would be a felony if committed by an adult? Sorry. Can’t buy that car.
Were you adjudicated as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense of murder in violation of § 18.2-31 or 18.2-32, kidnapping in violation of § 18.2-47, robbery by the threat or presentation of firearms in violation of § 18.2-58, or rape in violation of § 18.2-61? (If adjudicated as a delinquent for these offenses, you must answer yes. You are ineligible regardless of your current age and prohibited for life unless allowed by restoration of rights by the Governor of Virginia and order of the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which you reside.) Sorry, you can’t buy that car.
Have you been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime punishable by more than 2 years even if the maximum punishment was not received? Sorry, can’t buy that car.
Is there an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves your spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom you share a child in common, or someone you cohabited with as an intimate partner? Sorry, you aren’t purchasing that car.
Is there an outstanding protective or restraining order against you from any court that involves stalking, sexual battery, alleged abuse or acts of violence against a family or household member? No car for you!
So will you call for closing that car loophole that permits private individuals to sell motor vehicles to others without a background check?
I didn’t think so.