The number of deaths from gun violence should erase any doubt that a real epidemic is underway. In 2016, more than 38,000 Americans died — 4,000 deaths more than 2015 — and an additional 80,000 were injured in gun violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s an epidemic, but we lack public consensus on acceptable treatment.
An idea has gained traction recently: Treat owning and using a gun like owning and using a car. It seems logical. We need to pass competency and safety tests to get a driver’s license; we need to register and insure our car, as well as pass periodic inspections.
It could work. Like guns, cars are inherently dangerous. In the 1920’s, traffic laws didn’t exist, stoplights and road signs were uncommon except in cities and pedestrians were regularly killed in intersections and roadways.