One of the rhetorical tricks often used by gun control advocates is to liken firearms ownership to that of a car.
"We license cars," they say, "so why not require gun owners to get a license to own them, too?"
The argument is deeply flawed, but it does point to some interesting contradictions in how we regulate various activities.
The key flaw is that there is no Constitutional right to drive a car or an established natural (or human) right to use any form of transportation. Over the years our society has recognized an implied "right of free movement," but that doesn't extend to a right to use any means of transportation you choose.
By contrast, the right to effective self-defense is a recognized basic human right that is enshrined not only in the federal but also many state constitutions. It's a crucial difference. Still, let's look at the analogy a little closer.
Drivers licenses are pretty easy to obtain. People can (and do) lose their licenses and they also get them back.
You don't actually need a license to buy a car, nor do you have to report its purchase unless you want to drive it on a public highway. In fact, if you don't mind the legal risk, you can drive a car without a license (just check the news - happens all the time).
Cars are useful, but also dangerous. More people are killed in car accidents than are killed by guns. Lots more. We could probably reduce these fatalities by requiring stricter licensing standards and regular vehicle inspections (which other countries do), but there's no popular support for it. The most that has happened is that some states put additional restrictions on younger drivers.
Speaking of younger drivers, in most states you can drive with a learner's permit at age 15 and become licensed at 16. Think about that: Our society makes it perfectly legal for a 16-year-old to purchase and operate a vehicle that can weigh well over a ton and hurtle it down the highway at 75 miles and hour, but that same person is deemed to irresponsible to buy a bottle of beer.
A car is far more dangerous than a gun and (as we saw in France), a truck can be a lethal terrorist weapon, yet unlike guns, there is no organized, well-funded lobby calling for "car control."
Another interesting thing about cars: The license is recognized as valid in every state. If you live in New York, your license is still valid in Hawaii or anywhere else in the country.
Why is that? The obvious answer is convenience. Imagine having to drive from metro Detroit to visit family in Kentucky. The shortest route is to take I-75 south.
But what if your Michigan license wasn't valid in Ohio? At that point you'd have to either risk a traffic stop or go through Indiana to get to your destination, adding hours to your journey.
If it sounds improbable, that was the exact situation concealed pistol licensees faced not long ago. Michigan's carry permit was valid in Kentucky and Indiana (among other states) but not Ohio. It was a stupid and senseless situation that has since been remedied.
But there remain states that continue this nonsense. New Jersey infamously went after a nurse who thought her Pennsylvania carry permit was valid in the state.
Thankfully, sanity prevailed, but the incident highlight how strict gun laws basically turn otherwise law-abiding people into criminals.
This is what 'universal carry' would prevent. Most "gun crimes" are paperwork offenses - non-violent situations where someone simply ran afoul of a confusing array of federal, state and local regulations that serve no purpose other than to keep the prisons full and the prosecutors busy.
Once a person obtains a concealed carry license, they have demonstrated that they are responsible and law abiding. Repressive states like New Jersey should have no authority to detain or arrest people who simply want to visit or transit their state while having the means to defend themselves.
President-elect Trump campaigned on universal carry and hopefully he will see it through.