This article is from the talk.politics.guns Official Pro-Gun FAQ, by Ken Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
See particularly LaPierre,"Guns, Crime, and Freedom,"
where he devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 7) to this.
"Statistical Abstract of the United States 1996,"U.S. Department of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, SuDoc# C3.134:996, p.762
"Establishments Authorized to Operate Under the Supervision of The
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as of September 30, 1990,"
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, SuDoc# T 70.2:Es 8
National Safety Council Staff,"Accident Facts"(see above)
In summary: Automobiles must only be licensed for use upon public
roads, and licenses are not required for the purchase of one car (or
many 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 (see 2.1). 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. Waiting periods have a similar effect
(see 3.2 and 3.2.a). Licensing of law-abiding citizens to carry a
concealed weapon is permissible, because, like driving, the State
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 civil 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 (see 3.8). Restricting the
ability of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms on their own
property, and in defense of their homes and families, is unjust, and
constitutes prior restraint (that is, punishment before any harm has
Guns, which "gun control" supporters claim are "designed only to
kill" were involved in about 1,400 accidental deaths in 1990, and an
additional 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. By contrast, motor vehicles,
which are not (supposedly) "designed to kill" were involved in about
46,000 accidental deaths in 1990, and an additional 1,900 people
decided to suck on an exhaust pipe to end their lives, for a total of
some 47,900 motor-vehicle related deaths. There are about 143,000,000
passenger cars in use in the United States. From looking objectively
at the numbers, these_licensed_and_registered_transport devices
routinely kill more people than the (for the most part)"unlicensed,"
and_unregistered_deadly weapons do. And it isn't because these devices
"designed only to kill" aren't used a lot; U.S. gun owners go through
about 4,000,000,000 (that's four BILLION) 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
approximately only 205,000 gasoline service stations and auto dealers
"combined_in 1990), it doesn't require an federal background check to
run a gas station or to be a car salesman. 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, to
facilitate purchases from out-of-state dealers or mail-order companies,
and/or to simplify the purchase of restricted weapons, like machineguns
(see National Firearms Act of 1934, Appendix I).
There's nothing sinister about wanting to be exempt from the onerous
regulations which the supporters of "gun control" have placed on the
right to keep and bear arms, and, by undergoing the FBI background
check required in order to get an FFL, these people have shown they
are law-abiding. Such low-volume gun dealers have been the target of
BATF policymakers recently however, and many have had their licenses
revoked for not having a retail location, and have been turned in to
local authorities and harassed for violation of zoning laws (see 3.0).
This has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of FFLs, according
to Congressional testimony in April 1997 by BATF Director John McGaw,
who puts the most recent figure at 119,708 licensees as of February
1997, a drop of 56% below the 1990 levels quoted above. It should be
noted that in many localities, private sale of firearms by unlicensed
individuals not considered by BATF to be "engaged in the 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 gunowners 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?
Adapted in part from a posting by William Gray (gray@RKBAvisi.com)