If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic}

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Jul 27, 2012
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Car deaths have been strikingly reduced since the 70s–because of commonsense safety measures.

“Senators who voted against the Assault Weapons Ban.”
Assault Weapons Ban

Assault Weapons Ban


Photo: Occupy Posters

This is the least we all should expect of responsible gun owners. Right?

Earlier today, I posted a brilliant Colbert video on my facebook page that addressed gun violence. A gun owner commented:

Most gun owners (including myself) that I know support the assault rifle ban. They don’t want to have to defend themselves with a pistol when the other guy has armor piercing rounds firing at over 20 rounds per second…  I think that’s just logical.

My reply:

Well, sure, that’s logical, and glad you support the assault rifle ban! Keeping up with the Jones’s guns isn’t going to work, tho, so I hope there’s a resolution on this one day soooooon.

And he agreed, saying, “we can’t just get into an arms race with the sociopaths of this world.” He said more, but you get the general idea. These types of discussions are going on all over the place…some more heated than others. And, the conversations will die down as time passes. Until the next unfortunate tragedy ignites more debate.

Some people believe violent assault weapons used in massive shootings are purchased illegally. Um, nope. Not the case.


Isn’t it time to go back to banning assault weapons?


Do you believe gun violence tragedies would decrease if guns were as regulated as cars? Do you have a better solution?

Please commit to joining a meaningful conversation about how we can prevent the future loss of innocent life by signing the petition to President Obama and Governer Romney to say, “We are better than this.”

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About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She’s also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at myEARTH360.com and LynnHasselberger.com. A treehugger and social media addict, you’ll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


53 Responses to “If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic}”

  1. deleted3199113 says:

    I see this guns/cars argument popping up occasionally. It is a straw man argument. Guns are cars are two completely different entities.

    I am ambivalent on gun control. I have no clue as to where to draw the line. There are tens of millions of gun owners in the US who act responsibly. But a gun can do terrible damage in the hands of the irresponsible or criminal element.

    The Swiss have a much higher percentage of gun ownership than the US. Swiss gun crimes are very rare because the Swiss do not live in a culture of violence.

    • SQR says:

      This is a good point- our country is violent, no matter how you slice it- it was founded in part with genocide perpetuated against the native people, engaged in slavery, and continues to bomb innocent people in other places. It's no surprise to me that this sickness occasionally shows up at home. A deeper discussion of our fascination with violence is something we've never really had. I keep hearing how the discussion of bullying in schools has actually started to bring some changes, though, so I don't think this is completely out of the question.

      • Kathleen says:

        I have difficulty seeing the "straw man" nature of this argument. Both cars and guns need to be operated safely for the safety of both the operator and other people (since both cars and guns can either accidentally or purposefully kill people, including the operator). Yes, the Constitution grants US citizens a right to bear arms, but that doesn't mean that people don't need to be trained in both how and when to use them.

        The real problem that most of us are willing to gloss over is the mental health of the people who choose to buy assault weapons and shoot up schools. Most (if not all) of these people, as we later discover, were extremely mentally ill.

    • Fun with Guns says:

      As soon as the right to own a car is a Constitutional right, the top aforementioned "argument" might hold water.

    • William says:

      it's illegal to store ammunition in your home in sweden

    • guest says:

      Actually, I see the gun/car argument as very valid. But its taken in the wrong direction. The right to congregate is legally protected as part of the bill of rights. There should be no licensing for cars. We should be storming capital hill for requiring a license to drive a car.

  2. @BooksMoore says:

    Mike G needs to learn the difference between a strawman and a comparison. Maybe http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/3544/strawman…. will help.

    • __MikeG__ says:

      The gun regulation portion of this post is obviously an anti-gun argument using an irrelevant and unrelated example to falsely prove a point. If this were a simple comparison then the anti-gun argument would not be present.

      Guns and cars are not related. The comparison is irrelevant. I could use the comparisons of guns and kittens because that comparison is equally as false.

      But your are correct in that it is not a straw man argument. The cars/guns comparison is an example of an invalid deductive argument. I stand corrected.

  3. Michael V says:

    You are irrelevant and twisted by where you live. Chicago is the most violent city in this country and the most currupt. You have failed in your career and now you want to tell other people how to behave and live there lives..really? Stick to the environment, you at least know a little about that topic.

  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Mike V is obviously way out of line with the failed career comment. But, Ele readers, don't let that obscure a couple important points he makes.

    First, I'd bet money that most anti-gun people here and elsewhere don't have much experience with the parts of American culture where guns are normal. Therefore it's easy to demonize both guns and those who defend them. I also have little experience. For me, too, the anti-gun position was once clear as day. Age, though, gives you perspective.

    Mike G alludes to a huge ignored reason for gun rights in America: the Swiss way, where you protect your country with civilian militias and never ever go on military adventures in other countries. Some research on the history of that and also life experience has shown me the gun argument is not quite as clear cut as we of protected neo-puritan white upbringings (or those of us affected by that culture) think.

    I spent a week with my brother's family once in gun country. On weekends you could hear gunshots in every direction. People out shooting cans in their backyards. And yet, this was one of the safest places I've experienced in America. No one locks their doors when they leave the house and everyone waves and shouts a greeting as they drive by, even to an unknown outsider like myself. Friendly and safe. Two components of civilized society missing in much of America. Getting to know the other side is a real stereotype buster.

    The other important point Mike V brings up… Anti-gun people are generally those neo-puritan teachy-preachy cultural types, a type which greatly irritates gun-country people. And neither do gun-country people have the same standards of intellectual debate (thus the allusion to Lynn's career). The two groups, so culturally different, tend to yell past each other when they debate because neither really understands where the other is coming from. The gun debate is really just one of many covers for a culture debate. That's why neither side can win.

  5. marksmerk says:

    Can't we at least engage in a conversation about guns, specifically the "need" for anyone to own an assault rifle? Any mention of a gun discussion and the NRA and its minions scream and rant Second Right Amendment over and over and since elected officials have been bought by the gun lobby, no discussion is ever held.

    I believe there are reasonable people out there who want a rational discussion. Not sure how we assemble peacefully. Maybe Lynn's post will help? I sure hope so.

  6. […] Wildfires in Utah. This Mother Jones article cites local Utah news media that report at least one gunslinger who was sharpening his skills in outdoor target practice admits to having started a fire. Other […]

  7. Warren Q Higgins says:

    This is one of the best idea I've heard. Yes, there should also be an exam, a licensed, and every right to use and bring guns. Don't let just anyone get the hold of it. There should also like a car locksmith perth on guns where we can call someone to find a gun when lost.

  8. […] Guns aren’t the problem: lack of commonsense, ordinary regulations re access and training is the problem. […]

  9. […] You Do with $1,738 Billion? From Yes! Magazine: 4 Ways to Stop Gun Violence From ElephantJournal: If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic} From HuffPo: Paul Helmke–NRA’s Deadly Agenda Is […]

  10. […] You Do with $1,738 Billion? From Yes! Magazine: 4 Ways to Stop Gun Violence From ElephantJournal: If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic} From HuffPo: Paul Helmke–NRA’s Deadly Agenda Is […]

  11. […] You Do with $1,738 Billion? From Yes! Magazine: 4 Ways to Stop Gun Violence From ElephantJournal: If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic} From HuffPo: Paul Helmke–NRA’s Deadly Agenda Is […]

  12. […] From ElephantJournal: If Guns were as Regulated as Cars. {Infographic} […]

  13. Delinda Claire says:

    Hi there, I hate to barge in on the conversation like this, but, I am looking for a residential locksmith service pronto. I moved to Boston a couple of days ago and I could really use an experienced technician that’s affordable and their address should be within Boston. I think found a good one after a quick search, but I just don’t know how to find them. Do you have any information about this Boston locksmith? I can’t call them right now, and I haven’t found a review about them, any info about the company would be great — Boston MA Lock Shop, 304 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115 (857) 284-1772.

  14. […] Anticipating an encore of heated gun conversation. A blizzard of inaction. If only guns were as regulated as cars. […]

  15. Cathy R says:

    this is often not part of the conversation, but there are theories out there that if the us had tighter gun control there would be fewer gun related deaths in both the us and mexico. the smuggling across the border goes both ways. drugs to the us, arms to mexico. big money selling guns to drug cartel. 2nd amendment is not right to bear arms, it right to sell arms.

  16. Matt Hougen says:

    Why is the thought of better gun regulation such an unacceptable thing for so many people? No one is being "anti-gun" or is trying to hinder any Constitutional rights by suggesting that we need to better regulate the use and sales of dangerous weapons.

    And how is comparing auto regulation to gun regulation not a fair argument? The point being made is that there are more stringent laws and regulations to comply with in order to legally operate a car in this country than there are to buy and operate a gun. How is this not worth discussing?

    The right to bear arms allows us the right to own weapons and protect ourselves — but this does not mean there shouldn't be limits. Just as the Freedom of Speech does not permit slander or defamation, The Right to Bear Arms does not permit unhindered sales and use of weapons. Better gun control is necessary and helps to strengthen our Constitutional rights, not undermine them.

  17. Boulderluv says:

    Thanks to all for sharing this. Today was an awful day. My heart feels broken.

    Among many other things, I feel must do the minimum in the short term: we must ban all so-called assault weapons; we must heavily tax all guns; we must heavily tax bullets.

    • Mark Hastings says:

      LOL….. you must be from Boulder. There the solution to every problem is another tax. How's that working for you so far?

      So what does a new tax do in this case? Make sure that you need to reach a certain income level before you can have one of these weapons?

      Maybe those less fortunate – aspiring – ill doers can apply for a loan or get a government tax credit or subsidy?

      Just floating some equally well conceived ideas for all to consider……. 🙂

  18. Rich says:

    The assault weapons ban did not ban AR-15, AK-47 or many other semi automatics guns. It banned certain models with certain features like bayonet lugs. The only thing it banned outright was large capacity magazines and that was only new ones. You could easily buy any semi automatic rifle that functioned the same and used a lot of the same accessories as the models that were "Banned" by that bill. It was a political fluff piece.

  19. Jessica says:

    Is this type of weapon really necessary for 'hunting' ? I don't understand why they're accessible in the first place?

  20. Paul says:

    Actually, I think cars kill many more people in the U.S. every year than guns.

  21. Chances of being shot in the US is about 1 in 30,000 the closest other "western" country in the world is about 1 in 300,000!!

    • Mark Hastings says:

      So what? Your point? I am sure you can find many great statistics to support any silly argument one wishes to come up with. Lots of gun owners are 100% responsible and never commit a crime. This country is all about choice. Think before throwing around meaningless statistics.

  22. […] being obtained illegally, as generally speaking the guns used in mass killings in recent history were obtained legally, but in restricting access to guns by tightening the law. What is the fear in requiring training […]

  23. […] but I do hope SOMEthing happens- at least for the future sales of guns. Regulation at least. I mean this photo discussing how it’s easier to keep a gun {that KILLS people} than it is to drive {yes, […]

  24. […] I personally believe that there is a much bigger issue to deal with—the combination of uncontrolled rage and the availability of guns. We need to ask the questions, “Why are these weapons so appealing to our young men?” and, “Why are they so easily obtained?” […]

  25. Edohiguma says:

    AR-15 is not an assault rifle by definition.

    Austria’s gun laws are significantly more liberal than the laws in Chicago. Permits have doubled since the 90s and violence with legal guns has dropped by 50%, which means Austria has barely any gun violence. Chicago is close to 500 homicides with guns this year, despite and effective ban on private guns.

    Also: Osaka school massacre and Akihabara massacre prove everything you’ve said wrong.

    If someone wants to kill, he will kill. If he can’t do it with a gun, he will do it with a knife and can cause just as much damage as with a gun.

    As for the comparison with regulating cars… The US has a death toll of 30,000+ every year in traffic accidents. The EU has 50,000+. Most traffic accidents don’t happen because of actual accidents, but because of negligent drivers.

    • @Coradon says:

      Osaka School Massacre = 8 dead 15 wounded
      Akihabara massacre = 7 dead 10 wounded
      Sandy Hook = 26 dead 2 wounded

      Sure if he can't get a gun, he'll use a knife. But as your examples show, he's gonna do a lot more wounding than killing with it. Not to mention it takes a lot longer to stab a kid 11 times than shoot him 11 times. Meaning more time for police to arrive and the spree to end.

      As for your comparison with cars. Yes last year the US had over 31,000 deaths by car. The vast majority by negligent drivers. And yet we require all these procedures you have to follow in order to drive. Can you imagine if we dropped most of those to match what we have in place for owning a gun? Deaths by cars would be in the hundreds of thousands per year from drivers who no longer had to take tests to prove they had the ability to use them safely. Who no longer had to do anything other than prove they weren't a felon and signed a slip of paper and paid for a license to drive.
      Now reverse that. If we required the same enforcement for guns that we require on driving a car, imagine how many fewer gun deaths there would be and how many more people would be asking for increased gun control tools. And while there will always be illegal drivers, there will always be illegal gun owners. It doesn't mean we condone either one.

  26. Igmar Bigman says:

    We made marijuana illegal and you can't buy it anywhere in the US, should work with guns too.

  27. corrioliseffct says:

    How can one compare firearms ownership to driving a car when one is a constitutionally protected and natural right, and the other is a privilege granted by a state?

  28. @Coradon says:

    I mean to say how many people would NOT be asking for more gun control.

  29. T Easker says:

    Should their maybe just a little bit of focus on getting help to the crazies of the world involved in mass killings or possibly keeping the guns out of THEIR hands.

  30. BAW says:

    None of those are true for cars driven on private property. If you want to drive that car on a public road, THEN they apply but not a moment before.

  31. Mike Desue says:

    While it is obvious that many of mass shootings perpetrators obtained their weapons legally, many were also determined to be mentally unstable prior to the killings. One big problem the U.S. has is getting help to these sick individuals so the thought to kill people does not enter their sick minds in the first place

  32. Katerinaflower says:


    This discussion is nonpartisan, historical and very informative. David Kopel is a professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at DU..learn the history of gun control from the perspective of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, prohibition and the civil rights movement-

  33. James says:

    Wow what a liberal site, first we ban the evil assault rifle, then we ban rifles, then before you know it pistols will be gone. Once you give the government an inch they will eventually take a mile. while were at it lets talk about all the other things we should ban………Sports cars, they're capable of going really really fast which might hurt somebody, all the foods science has deemed unhealthy, I wonder how many people on earth die from eating unhealthy food every year, I bet its alot. Lets close down all the bars and clubs to prevent drunk driving and ban alcohol while we're at it. Lets also ban all the activities that cause bodily harm and death, mmmmmmmmm……..lets see, Skiing, mountain climbing, snowboarding, wind surfing, surfing, boating, cycling…..and the list goes on and on. By the way when we feel threatened and in danger who do we call? A man with a gun, I just hope he gets there in time.

    • Mark Hastings says:

      This is a very liberal site (no doubt) and most of the readers live in an idealistic world fairly detached for the "real" world (ie: students, activists, and artists, musicians, yoga instructors, etc. etc.) but there are some on here that are open to different perspectives. They may be few and far between but they are on here. I for one agree with your perspective. Politicians take actions that appease the masses but in reality frequently do nothing to help. The solution is not banning scary black guns. The solution is addressing the people that need help.

  34. Jason says:

    Interesting to me is the quote from the alleged "gun owner." If that person is a gun owner, he knows precious little about guns. I think it's critical for people to have some understanding of the things they seek to regulate. To address the specific comment quoted:

    – For starters, the "gun owner" says something about "armor piercing rounds." What isn't mentioned is that nearly any rifle round will penetrate most body armor.

    – Secondly, the only guns capable of firing 20 rounds per *second* (as the comment says) are fully-automatic guns; i.e. machine guns. While these are obtainable, they are *very* tightly regulated and *very* expensive.

    To address the general point of this post – a ban on "assault weapons" isn't likely to achieve a notable change in mass murders. Many mass-shooting murders have been committed with pistols and shotguns. The Columbine killings, for example, were done with guns that fully conformed to the assault weapons ban.

    Also missing is the fact that in the overall universe of gun murder, rifles of *any* type are only used in a very small fraction – 3-4 percent a year.

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  38. cloverfield says:

    "Do you believe gun violence tragedies would decrease if guns were as regulated as cars?"

    Yes I do! Regulations of gun is a must! Definitely! I do hope they'll make it more stricter for people to get a gun. Like having medical check-out to see whether the person has mental health? or family/depression issue? Problem with social life? Who knows?

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