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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Car and Gun Analogy

We ban race cars from our highways.

In the debate over sensible gun legislation, the "keep guns going no matter what" crowd frequently trot out a rather trite and false analogy.  They state, "Cars cause death; therefore, if we should ban cars if we feel that a "gun ban" is needed to protect the public."

First, this is  a false analogy, on that goes beyond comparing apples to oranges (both, after all are fruit). This is more like trying to compare apples to fabric softener. The purpose of a car is not to kill. If a car is used for its purpose, no one, no thing is killed. A gun is used for one purpose: to kill something or someone (that after all is its purpose even when used for protection.) Assault rifles are used to kill a lot of people very quickly.
Why not ban the sale of assault rifles?

But let us go ahead and use the car analogy. We DO regulate cars as we should regulate access to certain weapons. We don't, for example, allow NASCAR vehicles on the road to be driven by ordinary drivers. That would be a threat to public safety. We also don't allow tanks to be driven on the road (not only a vehicle, but a weapon that is banned from public use). We further regulate cars in many ways for safety sake. We require good brakes, seat belts, air bags, safety glass, and brake lights. AND we regulate and license the drivers who drive them.

In a sense then, the "car analogy" so beloved by the gun loving crowd argues more for gun regulation than against it.

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