The Gross National Debt

Monday, November 20, 2017

Guns regulated like vehicles? Yes please.

People who don't know any better keep saying we need to regulate guns like vehicles.

Yes. Please. Can we do that immediately?

Let's put a critical eye on this detail and lemme show you why people who truly believe that either do not know what they are talking about or they are people who truly understand the 2nd Amendment.

Sometimes I provide examples. Sometimes I do not, but I will if you ask. Fair warning - this is long and may get longer as I remember things. I am trying to be comprehensive.

If I have made a mistake, or left something out, tell me. I will edit and revise. And I have revised a few times as I remember stuff. Interesting, no one from the gun control lobby has mentioned any oversights.

Points are listed at random.

Start here-


Every state grants exceptions for operating vehicles on public roads, NO LICENSE NEEDED. Look. It. Up. Tractors and combines are included in the definition of a vehicle. More definition follows. You may disagree with the definition of vehicle here, in which case you are wrong. Seriously. I am well-tired of people who cannot read their local, state and federal laws regarding the definition of vehicle and operation thereof. If you intend to argue this point, I probably will block you. Read. The. Law.

Ag vehicles, which include cropdusters, are capable of more than 100 miles an hour and have more horsepower than anything Detroit produces these days. With a wagon on the back, think hayride, they can haul as many people as a school bus.

I checked about dozen states. For the operation of ag vehicles on public roads:

• No age limit
• No vehicle registration
• No insurance

Further, many communities allow golf carts on public roads. My community does. No license needed. My community does have an insurance requirement and an age limit. Other golf cart communities do not.

A public license is not needed to drive vehicles on private property. Insurance is not needed.

Operating a vehicle on a public road is legal.

Follow the rules of the road, which are pretty uniform from state to state.

Driving toward someone is legal. Running them over is not.

States set speed limits. There is no firearm equivalent, unless you refer to rate of fire which is governed by federal law.

Law enforcement must have a warrant or have a reasonable belief that a crime is being committed to go onto private property to check a vehicle.

Seat belt use is a state-level requirement. There is no firearm equivalent.

Your state requirements may vary.

Operating a firearm on a public road is generally illegal. Some Western states allow hunting from the road. Restrictions apply and vary by state.

In general, just shooting from a public road is not permitted.

Pointing a gun down the road just to do it is illegal.

Firing a gun across lanes of traffic is illegal.

Pointing a gun at someone is questionable. Shooting at someone, regardless of impact, is illegal unless in self-defense. In some states, lethal use of a firearm even in self-defense can result in criminal charges.

Some states actually require you to retreat in the face of lethal threats. Not kidding. There is no vehicular equivalent. Get you some -

Minors may operate firearms when under supervision of an adult.

Discharging a firearm in the city limits, except under highly specific circumstances, is generally illegal.

Law enforcement can go onto private property to check a firearm without suspecting illegal activity and without a warrant.


I am not aware of any kind of vehicle banned by a state. It may exist. I don't know about it. The federal government bans vehicles. NB: I cannot swear this website is accurate. Some of the "banned" vehicles and the reasons given appear to conflict with vehicles already on the road in the US.  I also believe this list is not complete; other vehicles may be banned by the US.

Federal import rules

Several states outright ban certain categories of firearms except for law enforcement use. Get some - This link runs you to the actual state law, not NRA hype.

The federal government has banned a bunch.

This is in addition to the select-fire manufacturing restriction passed during the Reagan era.


Anyone can legally own a vehicle, at least under federal law. State law may say differently. The only knot in this particular rope is the age of the owner. Under federal and state law, a minor cannot enter into a legal contract. So, is owning a vehicle a legal contract? If the vehicle needs to be financed, yes. If the vehicle is bought outright or a gift, no. Minors buy things in stores all the time. No contract needed.

Vehicles may be given outright to minors. The late Dr. Penn White gave my son Jesse an MG Midget. Jesse was in elementary school at the time.

A person convicted of a felony may legally own a vehicle. A person convicted of multiple DUI infractions may own a vehicle.

Not aware of any ownership restrictions in any state for vehicles, up to and including decommissioned tanks.

Vehicles may be given as gift without restriction.

No limit on the number of vehicles that may be owned.

No state has a waiting period for purchasing a vehicle

The Constitution does not guarantee the right to own a vehicle.

To legally own certain classes of firearm, a person must be at least 18 under federal law. That is for long guns. The age is 21 for handguns.

Several states outright ban certain categories of firearms except for law enforcement use.

Firearms may be gifted, provided the receiver is legally allowed to own the firearm under state and federal law.

No limit on the number of firearms that may be owned. Possession of more than a certain amount of a single caliber or gauge of ammunition requires a federal arsenal permit.

A person convicted of a felony may not legally own a firearm. A person committed to a mental institution may not legally own a firearm. A person convicted of assault may not own a firearm. The list goes on.

Get some -

Some states impose a waiting limit on buying a firearm.

When buying a firearm from a licensed dealer, the BATFE may impose a 3-day waiting period with no explanation. At the end of the period, the BATFE may say no sale, sale approved, or sale to be determined by the license holder. There is no vehicle equivalent.

The Constitution backed up by a Supreme Court decision, says owning a firearm is a Constitutional right.

Three significant pieces of legislation also govern certain kinds of firearms. There is no vehicle equivalent.


Got money? Buy it.

Those on the left say that if you are in business, you must do business with anyone who has money. Bake a cake, in other words.

Prohibiting someone from legally owning a vehicle requires an order from a judge.

Sales from a dealer are subject to local sales tax and possibly property taxes and possibly local registration requirements. I say possibly because collector vehicles may not be registered in some places. Also, in some states the purchase of ag vehicles is exempt from sales tax.

Purchase of new vehicles with certain engine types may allow the owner an income tax break.

Anyone may cross a state line and buy a vehicle in a state where they do not live.

Buying from a dealer requires either a federal background check OR a state-approved firearms license. Regardless, federal paperwork must be filled out when buying from a dealer.

Federal regulations allow require a firearms dealer to refuse a sale if he believes the buyer should not have the firearm EVEN IF THE BUYER PASSES THE FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECK. A firearms dealer may refuse to sell a firearm without giving a reason. Federal regulation.

Private sales may or may not require background checks, depending on state law. Regardless, sale of a firearm to someone legally prohibited from owning a firearm is a federal offense.

Prohibiting someone from owning a firearm may require an order from a judge, i.e. criminal conviction, judged mentally incompetent, etc. Preventing someone over 21 from legally owning a firearm may not require a judge's order, i.e. being under pysch-type care.

Sales from a dealer are subject to the federal Pittman-Robertson act taxes, local sales taxes and possibly local registration requirements.

When buying a firearm in another state, only long guns may be purchased by a non-resident, subject to everything else listed above and below. Handgun purchases are only allowed within the state of residence. This is a federal regulation and has no vehicle equivalent.

One firearm may be purchased per year and deducted from federal taxes, if the firearm is used in a business. Farming allows this for crop predation control. Think hunting wild hogs to save the peanuts.

I have a 3/4 inch thick book from the BATF giving me the regulations on the sale of firearms. I doubt the vehicle industry has the same.


Vehicles are grouped into classes. Ag. Commercial transport (semi). Commercial person transport (bus, limo). Recreational. Racing/Professional sport. Passenger/Private. Aquatic. Air. AutoCycle (in some states). Motorcycle. Industrial (in some states). Driving SOME of these vehicles requires a license. Some require an advanced or special license.

Firearms are in classes.

Some are not regulated. Airguns are not considered firearms, depending on the use and state regulations. Antique meaning made before 1898. Obsolete, meaning ammo for the firearm is no longer available. Muzzleloader, meaning it must be loaded from the muzzle and cannot use modern smokeless powder; can be handgun or long gun. (Savage and Daisy experienced this requirement and those guns are now collector's items, commanding a serious price.) Anyone can buy and own these, subject to state law. No license needed to buy, own or sell. Age requirement is a gray area.

HOWEVER - The definition of "weapon" is highly subjective and may include any of the above. Take a blackpowder pistol to rob a bank, and you are guilty of armed robbery. Same with an airgun. There is no vehicle equivalent.

Curio & Relic, meaning 40 years old or older or special designation into this category by the BATFE. BATFE has a special firearms license for this category allowing the holder to buy and sell guns in this group across state lines.

Long guns are a category. Think shotgun and rifle. Long gun barrel length is federally regulated to a minimum.

Handguns are a category. Think Dirty Harry's revolver. Handgun barrel length is federally regulated to a maximum.

A new class of short-barreled shotgun, with a pistol grip, was recently added to the categories. These firearms must still maintain a minimum length. Addition of a shoulder stock, even once, moves these guns into the Tax Stamp short barreled firearm category.

Tax Stamp required firearms are short-barreled long guns (any other weapon). Fully automatic (select-fire). Destructive Devices (DD), items having a bore of more than a half-inch and generally recognized as not having any sporting use.

Sporting use means 10 and 8 gauge shotguns (which would otherwise be a DD) are sporting arms despite the bore size. Other examples are the 577 Tyrannosaur, the 600 and 700 Nitro Express double rifles, the 4-bore and the 2-bore.

Industrial application. These firearms are special use and special manufacture. They are not used for hunting, sporting, training or law enforcement purposes. (Nor would you want to for that matter.) They are found in very specific factories and coal-burning power plants where they are used to remove "eyebrows" from drums and boilers. They could fall under the tax-stamp requirement under a strict interpretation of the law, but they are not placed there. As best I know, Remington and Winchester are the sole US manufacturers of these firearms.

Railguns are not regulated in any fashion I'm aware of. There is no vehicle equivalent. Still, use one in the commission of a crime, and you will be charged with using a "weapon."


A driver's license from any state or territory is valid in any other state or territory. 16 is the minimum age to receive a license. A learner's permit is available at 15. There is no minimum age needed to obtain a private pilot's license.

Every state is a "shall issue" for driver's licenses. Pass the test, get a license. You cannot be denied unless your license is suspended for some infraction. Licensing requirements vary by state.

Once you get a license in one state, you can move to another state and get the same license there without testing.

A license is not required to own a vehicle.

A weapons permit is only valid in the state of issue and in states with a reciprocal agreement. A Georgia driver's license is valid in any US state or territory. A Georgia firearms permit is only valid in the Peach State and in states with a reciprocity agreement.

Get some -

Most states with a carry license have a minimum age of 21 for the permit. Getting a permit in some states requires some training.

Some states are "shall issue." Some states are "may issue." May issue means you can be denied a license for any reason or no reason. Some states are "open carry" meaning no license is required.
Some states do not require any training for a firearms license.

A firearms license will not automatically transfer to another state. You must meet that state's requirements.

A license is not required to own a gun.

Tax Stamp
It is not a license, but rather a federal tax stamp. The stamp is needed to legally own a DD, short barrel firearm or select-fire gun in every state and territory This paperwork must be in possession of the person who has the tax stamp weapon in every state and territory.

Some states do not allow certain tax-stamp firearms.

A tax-stamp firearm also requires approval from a local law enforcement agency head. This permission may be denied with no reason given.

A National Firearms Act (NFA) trust may be created to "own" a Tax Stamp firearm or accessory. Local law enforcement permission is not required. Other requirements remain. Other "users" may be added to this trust, provided the person is eligible to legally use a firearm. No checks are required to add people.


You can drive any vehicle across state lines, provided it meets the local and state road requirements for being on the road. It may mean headlights, brake lights and turn signals, safety belts, insurance, registration and a license. As noted above, these items are not always required.

You must meet the state and local regulations, which vary widely. New York prohibits magazines above a certain capacity. New York also requires firearms be carried in a separate locked container from ammunition. Other states vary in transportation requirements.

Transporting a tax stamp weapon (think full auto) means the person with the weapon and the tax stamp must alert authorities that the weapon is crossing state lines. Some states prohibit certain tax stamp firearms, so transporting it across a state line is illegal even if you call ahead.


Dispensing gasoline must be overseen by someone with a driver's license or over 18. This is rarely enforced in my opinion as young'uns are routinely seen buying gas in gas cans for lawnmowers & so forth.

Parts may be purchased by anyone with money.

Oil, filters, transmission fluid, etc. may be purchased by anyone with money.

Purchasing ammo requires the person to be at least 18 or 21 depending on the ammo. Strictly handgun ammo, the buyer must be 21. If the ammo can be handgun or long gun, the seller has to be sure the person buying will use it in a long gun if the buyer is under 21.

Reloading supplies may be purchased by anyone.


Some roads and bridges in every state are weight-restricted.

Some states and cities have emissions requirements for vehicles.

Height requirements are set by state law.

Restrictions noted throughout this article.


Vehicles may be parked on public property, school grounds, state and federal enclaves in marked places and sometimes unmarked places. Vehicles may be taken into buildings on these properties.

Businesses are free to restrict vehicle possession and use on their grounds.

Age restrictions are possible, but unusual unless linked directly to the age needed for the license (21 for CDL.)

Firearms may not be taken into buildings on these properties. Some exceptions are for organized and coached sporting events. Shotgun tournaments hosted by the 4-H is an example, but the firearms are closely monitored and the person must adhere to a volume of safety regulations.

A person over 18 must be in attendance for a firearm to be legally allowed on school grounds even for an organized event.

Businesses are free to restrict firearm possession and use on their grounds.


Commission of a Crime
Possession of a vehicle during the commission of a crime is not an additional charge in most states. Using the vehicle to actually commit the crime (run over someone) may be different. Your state regs may vary.

Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime is an additional charge in every state. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon during commission of a crime is an additional charge in every state.


Vehicle size is governed by weight, with a maximum set under state and federal law. Execptions many be granted by seeking special permission. There is no firearm equivalent.

Misuse of a vehicle ranges from a civil offense to a federal capital punishment eligible crime.

Misuse of a firearm is a crime ranging from a misdemeanor to a federal capital punishment eligible crime.

Some states allow hunting from a vehicle. Regs vary by state.

All states have restrictions on firearm types, caliber and shot size for hunting.

Except in the new category of shotgun with has a minimum length, barrels shorter than certain length must have rifling grooves. To do otherwise creates a short-barreled gun subject to the Tax Stamp. There is no vehicle equivalent.

Hazardous material transport applies to certain items hauled in vehicles, including ammunition primer and powder. It also applies to acids, fuels and etc. Aside from an upper gross vehicle weight limit, there is no limit to how much fuel a vehicle may transport without needing a HazMat permit. This may appear to be a contradiction on fuel, but it is not. Semis routinely haul hundreds of pounds of fuel to engine consumption, no permit needed. Hauling it as cargo is hazmat.

HazMat applies to transport of ammo, powder and primers over a certain weight, under 10 pounds as I remember, for private transport. HazMat applies to any commercial transport of said items. Amount of ammunition over a certain amount is subject to federal regulation.

Fuel must be stored in approved containers. Storing fuel in glass jars is considered construction of a Destructive Device and subject to a federal Tax Stamp.

Powder may be stored in glass jars. Powder stored in pipes and other improvised explosive devices determined by an investigating officer may be considered Destructive Devices and subject to the federal Tax Stamp.


To get a vehicle sales license, some states require classes, insurance and a regular license fee. This varies by state. Most cities also require a business license for the dealer.

To get a federal firearms license, the person must:

• Be fingerprinted.
• Undergo an extensive background check, much more thorough than the check needed to buy a firearm.
• Have the premises where the firearms are sold inspected. Inspections may be done annually.
• Prove he wants the license to make money (Yes. This is a federal requirement.)
• Have a meeting with a BATFE agent to discuss the application (for a commercial dealer or higher license. Not needed for Curio & Relict)
• Pay the license fee each year or every three years, depending on the license.
• Keep records for 20 years of every transaction.
• Prove firearms can be stored in a safe location.
• Report any theft of a firearm to the BATFE within 24 hours.
• Submit reports (depending on license) on all firearms sales to local law enforcement regularly (depending on local regs).
• Have a physical location.
• Have the property zoned for commercial firearms sales (C&R excepted).
• Specify which license is requested. BATFE has a bunch. It ranges from the C&R to the destructive device construction and import license.
• A business license.

Get some -


Vehicle accessories are limited. Blue lights are restricted to law enforcement use and special permit.

Flashing lights may be restricted by state or local law.

Vehicle height is restricted by local law in some places.

Window tint is restricted in some states.

Other accessories may be limited by local or state law.

Fuel composition is governed by state and federal law. There is no exact parallel to firearms.

Some states restrict magazine capacity.

Some states restrict stocks - nothing collapsible, sliding wire -rame, front grips, etc.

Certain projectiles are illegal under federal law. There is no exact parallel to vehicles.

Changing barrels on the firearm may be federally illegal, depending on the configuration of the firearm and the length of the barrel and rifling in the barrel, without a Tax Stamp.

Federal law specifies what part of a firearm is the actual "gun." Must meet federal requirements to own this. Other parts may be purchased by anyone.

Possession of certain parts of a firearm, not the "gun" is illegal without a Tax Stamp.


Some states ban vehicles without mufflers. Some states put decibel limits on motorcycles. No jake brakes in some localities.

Some states and communities outright ban suppressors. Some restrict them. Regardless, it requires a federal Tax Stamp for each suppressor.


Vehicle registration varies by state and vehicle. Sometimes required, sometimes not.

Registration varies by state and firearm. Sometimes required, mostly not.


Anyone can buy a kit vehicle and put it together. Registration requirement varies by state. The vehicle may be sold to anyone.

Inspection often required in order to get registration and tags.

Once made, can be sold to anyone.

Anyone can buy an unrestricted firearm kit, blackpowder for instance, and put it together.

Other classes are subject to federal firearm ownership restrictions. Construction and possession is illegal as noted above.

Sale of kit firearms, which are subject to federal regulation is generally prohibited, unless it is done through a dealer. If you make your own centerfire or rimfire firearm you do not need to put a serial number on it. This is recommended. If no serial number, you cannot sell this firearm, but may leave it to someone in your will.

No one, excepting someone with a Class III or higher manufacturer's permit, may make a DD or select-fire firearm. Select-fire may only be sold to law enforcement or kept as a demonstration model. If the Class III or higher license is ever surrendered or not renewed, any display firearm must be turned into the BATFE.

No inspection requirements.

The "80 percent" rule allows anyone to buy a block that needs machining work to become a completed firearm. This is a precision operation and well beyond the capabilities of most people without a CNC machine. CNC devices are thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The block has to be no more than 80 percent complete. If the person is prohibited from owning a firearm, completing the block to make it into a firearm is a federal crime.


Depending on the kind of instruction, requirements vary. Class requirements vary.

Depending on kind of instruction, requirements vary, but at minimum require a background check and be legally allowed to own a firearm as well as tax certifying classes by a certifying agency.


Federal law oversees the license for manufacturing of commercial vehicles. It has three levels. 1) A custom shop that turns out a few vehicles a year. Think racing shop. No license needed. 2) Small manufacturer. I forget the number made in a year before this requirement kicks in. 3) Mass market. Ford, Chrysler, GMC, etc.

Repair shops generally need a local business license. They may be subject to additional taxes and laws such as workman's comp and unemployment insurance.

Any repair shop may repair any vehicle, if the shop is capable. In general, no specific license is required to be a mechanic. State laws may vary. No license is needed to send a vehicle across a state line for repair. Certifications are available.

Certain parts on vehicles may not be repaired by the owner, under the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA); this affects the software and electronic components used by the software. Only licensed shops may effect the repair. There is no firearm equivalent.

Manufacture of a kit vehicle or a restoration does not require registration. Manufacture for commercial sale requires federal registration of some sort of identification number, be that a VIN or engine number.

Federal and local regulations govern emissions.

The manufacture of 1 firearm for commercial sale requires a federal gun manufacturing license. BATFE recently ruled that making some modifications to firearms parts, threading a barrel for instance for commercial sale, also requires a federal firearms license.

Gunsmith shops generally need a local business license. They may be subject to additional taxes and laws such as workman's comp and unemployment insurance.

Working on Class III or other Tax Stamp firearms requires the gunsmith to hold the necessary federal licenses to possess and work on such items. Gunsmiths are not required to have a federal firearms license, but it is recommended. If the gun passes over a state line to the smith direct, a license is required. Certifications are available.

The owner may repair any part of his firearm without license or approval, unless the firearm requires software and electronic parts governed by software, in which case the federal DMCA applies. If that happens, only a licensed shop may effect repairs.

Manufacture of a firearm for private use and not for sale under any circumstances does not require registration. The maker still must be allowed to own the firearm under local, state and federal law. Manufacture for commercial sale requires federal registration of the serial number.

Select-fire firearms may not be manufactured by an individual without the appropriate federal licenses. Other Tax Stamp weapons may be legally manufactured by an individual after paying the Tax Stamp and received BATFE approval.

Federal law requires the use of non-toxic (steel, bismuth, tungsten) shot for hunting waterfowl. California has non-lead hunting bullet requirements.

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