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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Why is the privilege to drive treated like a right, and the right to bear arms treated like a privilege?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20307 points ) July 15th, 2011

The constitution stated every American has the right to bear arms, even in the days of the West, if you got out of jail or prison you got your six shooter back. These days if you get a felony conviction, even if your crime had nothing to do with a gun, you lose your Constitutional right to have any. However, if you do time for felony drunk driving or hit and run, etc, at some point when you are free you can get your license back. Driving and having a driver’s license is a privilege, so why give back the license as if it were a right for people to be able to drive, even after they were convicted of a crime while driving. It is seem as if driving is a right and bearing arms is not. Why is that, shouldn’t that be the other way around?

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19 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

I might have a response to the first part. If one get convicted for a felony the law sees him as “dangerous” and to prevent some events in the future they don ‘t allow him to have a weapon.
A car is not considered to be that dangerous. Or maybe one needs the license to move around or to work as a driver… dunno.
Check the law to see.

marinelife's avatar

Do you mean bear arms or bare arms like Michele Obama sports?

First of all, the right to bear arms has been historically misinterpreted. It does not mean that everyone has the right to a gun. Secondly, even if it did, it was crafted in different times. It is no longer applicable.

Third, today, most people need to drive to be able to work.

Fourth, cars can’t be used to shoot people.

athenasgriffin's avatar

The right to bear arms regards to our right to have guns in a militia, not just as individual human beings who want to blow each other’s faces off. It is kind of like our right to vote, we have that right, but we give it up when we commit certain crimes, ext. Driving, in contrast, is pretty much necessarily in modern life. Our whole way of life would be disrupted without it. Also, driving is not treated as a right. We are required to pass certain tests to attain the privilege of driving.

roundsquare's avatar

Because people need cars to survive (in many parts of the US).
Most people don’t need guns to survive. For most of those that do, the hope is that we can change the situation so that they don’t.

JLeslie's avatar

You could look at it like this is a free country, if I buy a car, why can’t I drive it? Why do I even need a license? I guess the argument is if youwant to use that public road, although it is true on private roads also, you are going to have to comply with that the government requires to use the road.

I guess safety of the citizenry is the governments top priority, trumps even constitutional rights. So, if someone is deemed untrustworthy, we don’t trust them with a weapon like a gun.

roundsquare's avatar

@JLeslie You need a license to drive on a private road? I think if you own a large estate and have your own roads you don’t need a license.

The_Idler's avatar

Like @roundsquare said, America is a no longer a place in which you need a gun to survive (‘The Wild West’), whereas it is a place in which you need a car to survive (or even buy a pint of milk).

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do you mean bear arms or bare arms like Michele Obama sports? The former, but that is corrected thanks to you. ;-)

It does not mean that everyone has the right to a gun. Secondly, even if it did, it was crafted in different times. It is no longer applicable. That is how I read it, every citizen has the right to have a firearm. To say it was simply a different time then it is a different time now. Back then, they didn’t have jets, or cell phones. One could use that as a green light to a more robust Patriot Act, that can suspend other rights in the name of national security.

Third, today, most people need to drive to be able to work. And they have no need to be able to protect their property, of which the car is apart of or themselves? People without cars or do not drive get to work, so I am sure people who lost the privilege due to drunk driving will figure something out as well.

Fourth, cars can’t be used to shoot people. That maybe so, but a car can kill or maim much easier and unexpected. If a person has a pistol, unless he shoots the person in the back, the person will see it and at least have a ghost of a chance to take cover, and if the shooter is poorly trained he would have to be lucky to hit anything. By the time you even realize a drunk is about to t-bone you or smack you head on, if you even get time to think, you better have an airbag. I can see giving the keys back to a drunk driver is so much safer. Years ago a neighbor had to take court ordered classes because he was drunk driving, he told me he learned in class that for each time a person is stopped and arrested for drunk driving they have driven at least 60 times without being stopped or caught. I like muscle cars; there ain’t no airbags.

roundsquare's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central “That is how I read it, every citizen has the right to have a firearm.”
Have you read the background to the constitution? I haven’t, but its an important part of understanding it. I have no specific point to make on this except that just reading the plain text isn’t enough (or at least, a lot of scholars would say so). I also think we should have a constitutional amendment to either strike out the 2nd amendment or at least clarify things, but that won’t happen soon.

“And they have no need to be able to protect their property, of which the car is apart of or themselves? ”
Well… no. Most people don’t. People have a need to be safe but most people don’t need guns to be safe. Also, given that guns cause a lot of the safety problems, that makes it worse.

Re: cars killing people
I agree. That’s why the right is not absolute. You do not have a right to drive drunk and we need much more enforcement of drunk driving laws, etc…

Thammuz's avatar

I don’t know, but neither should be a right.

syz's avatar

Is driving treated as a right? You are taught how to use one in school (driver’s ed), you have to prove yourself competent (drivers test), be re-tested periodically, pay road taxes, pay vehicle tax, prove that you have insurance in case of accident, and carry a license any time that do drive. All this for a mode of transportation.

Yet to carry a gun, a weapon, you don’t have to prove competency, you don’t have to have insurance coverage, and you don’t have to carry a license (except in case of concealed/carry, I presume). Any blithering idiot can purchase a weapon, just no blithering idiots who have committed a felony.

I don’t see the problem.

josie's avatar

Anytime you have to ask the government permission to do anything, like driving, it means that they have taken away, or you have relinqueshed, your right to do it.

john65pennington's avatar

The Constitution of The United States gives every citizen the right to bear arms.

Each individual state can give or not give each person the right to bear a driver license.

missingbite's avatar

@john65pennington Has gotten it “right.” sorry

@marinelife I just don’t know what to say. Do you want to abolish our (I’ll assume you are an American) Constitution because it was written before the advent of other things like mentioned above?

JLeslie's avatar

@roundsquare Probably not a drive(way) to your personal property. But, some communitites, especially gated communities, sometimes have private roads, it is up to the commuty itself to maintain it. What is more typical is a developer/builder of a subdivision builds the road and then “gifts” it to the city.

Hibernate's avatar

@jp okay but what about a kid who gets a gun then goes to school and then mass murders a lot of his colleagues. Will he then be given the right to posses a gun after getting out of the prison? I do not know so b are with me here please.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The Second Amendment is subject to qualifications, just like every other article of amendment. I cannot falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater despite the First Amendment, and I cannot own a firearm after being convicted of a felony despite the Second Amendment. I would appreciate more nuance in the laws that govern them, including a practical path to restoration of full rights in the case of the Second Amendment, but it does not seem outrageous in principle to have such qualifications.

As for the apparent discrepancy between losing the right to bear arms forever and losing one’s driving privileges only temporarily, I suppose it is a matter of the State deciding that it is in its own interest to allow convicted felons to have their driving privileges back because that is considered more important for reintegration into society. It’s not necessarily treating the privilege as a right so much as not deeming the privilege worth permanently keeping away from those who have been released from prison.

Strictly speaking, there are ways to get one’s right to bear arms back, and there are places where one retains certain rights under state and local laws. So few people are subject to these conditions, however, that it is still fair to say that there is no practical path to restoration of full rights. This is unfortunate, especially in the case of people convicted for felonies that did not involve weapons or violence.

Nullo's avatar

@marinelife @athenasgriffin The rest of the Bill of Rights refers to individual freedoms; why not No. 2? Or are you only safe from unreasonable search and seizure in a group?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@roundsquare Re: cars killing people
I agree. That’s why the right is not absolute. You do not have a right to drive drunk and we need much more enforcement of drunk driving laws, etc…

@john65pennington Each individual state can give or not give each person the right to bear a driver license.

Yes, but one can get caught driving many times while drunk, even lose their license but there is usually a provision or way to get it back in time; even if you take a life with your drunk driving and did time because of it. If one commits a crime that is a felony even it if were cooking the books or anything having to do with a weapon, there is no provision for you to gain the right to own one back.

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