Gun Control: Why Do We Need Licenses To Own Guns?

Automobiles must only be licensed for use upon public roads, and
licenses are not required for the purchase of cars. There are no waiting
periods or background checks on the purchase of cars. People who misuse their
cars are punished for their own actions, and particular types of cars aren't
banned or taken away from those who use them safely. Unlike driving on public
roads, which is a privilege, owning a gun is a right explicitly protected by the
U.S. Constitution . The right of self -defense is fundamental and inalienable,
but requiring a license to own the means of self defense gives government the
power to deny that right, for whatever reason. Licensing of law-abiding
citizens to carry a concealed weapon is permissible, because, like driving, the
government has an interest in maintaining public safety by ensuring as best it
can that only the law-abiding carry in public. However, some supporters of the
right to keep and bear arms oppose requiring a permit for concealed carry, and
prefer a permitless system like that of the state of Vermont, which simply
punishes misuse of guns, rather than restricting their lawful use. Restricting
the ability of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms on their own
property, and in defense of their homes and families, punishes them before they
have even done anything wrong.
In 1990, guns, which gun control supporters claim are "designed only to
kill," were involved in about 1,400 accidental deaths, 18,800 suicides, and
13,600 murders, for a total of 33,800 firearm-related deaths. There are more
than 200,000,000 firearms in private hands in the United States. Also in 1990,
motor vehicles, which are not "designed to kill" were involved in about 46,000
accidental deaths and 1,900 people decided to suck on an exhaust pipe to end
their lives, for a total of 47,900 motor-vehicle related deaths. There are
about 143,000,000 passenger cars in use in the United States. From looking at
the numbers, these licensed and registered vehicles routinely kill more people
than the unlicensed and unregistered deadly weapons do. This isn't because
these devices "designed only to kill" aren't used a lot; U.S. gun owners go
through roughly 4,000,000,000 rounds of ammunition a year.
Much has been made by some gun control advocates of the fact that there
"are more gun dealers than gas stations" in the United States. While arguably
true (there were 269,079 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) in 1990 according to
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and about 205,000 gasoline service
stations and auto dealers combined in 1990), it doesn't require a federal
background check to run a gas station or to sell cars so those numbers aren't
definitive. Those Federal Firearms License holders who had no retail location,
often called "kitchen table dealers" by anti-gun activists (and who, until
recently, were a significant percentage of FFL holders), got their licenses
primarily for the added convenience of being exempt from waiting periods or to
facilitate purchases from out-of-state dealers or mail-order companies.
There's nothing wrong about wanting to be exempt from the regulations
which the supporters of gun control have placed on the right to keep and bear
arms. By undergoing the FBI background check required in order to get an FFL,
these people have shown that they are law-abiding. Such low-volume gun
"dealers" have been the target of BATF policy makers recently, and many have had
their licenses revoked for not having a retail location. It should be noted
that in many areas, the private sale of firearms by unlicensed individuals who
the BATF does not consider to be in business are legal, and almost completely
unregulated. After all, firearms are considered property, and so long as the
owner does not knowingly sell or transfer a gun to a person who is underage or
who is forbidden by law from owning firearms (such as felon), one may dispose of
one's own property as one sees fit. How ironic that the low-volume "dealers"
who have gone to the trouble and expense of obtaining an FFL are the ones the
BATF has chosen to target, rather than going after armed felons and the illegal
and/or unlicensed dealers who supply them.
The fact is, most people use guns at least as responsibly as they use
their automobiles, and the vast majority of gun owners never harm anyone. That
being the case, why punish everyone for the wrongs committed by a few, whether
they be criminal car drivers or criminals with guns?