You don't need a gun license, but cutting hair is illegal without one...

Airline pilots require a license to fly a plane. To get that license in the United States, a person who wishes to acquire a pilot’s license needs to have about forty hours of flight time, in addition to passing an oral test and a flight test. This is the minimum requirement to become a certified private pilot. There are other tests that are needed to get a commercial pilot licence, etc.

To be allowed to drive in this country, one needs to obtain a driver’s license. This license acquisition demands the passing of a written test as well as a test of actual driving skill. To become a hair stylist in the U.S., you need to get a license from the state where you wish to cut hair. Most states require a high school diploma or GED in order to proceed to the licensing phase.

Though not all plumbers are required to be licensed, I suspect most of us would want to enlist one that was, especially considering the prices a plumber can charge. The same is true for an electrician. Unfortunately, as far as I know, the size of their ass crack is not taken into consideration when given the license.

Lawyers, Doctors, vets, cops (have badges, I know), these days you can’t do much without a licence. In fact there are 36 states that require a make-up artist to be licensed, auctioneers are licensed in 33 states, and in Louisiana, you need a licence to be a florist. The last thing you want to do is buy flowers from someone who doesn’t know how to handle them.

And all of this is not to mention the fact that most states in the U.S. require your dog to be licensed, and not simply licensed, but you are required to provide proof that your dog has a valid rabies certificate.

Yes, there are so many examples of situations throughout our everyday lives where we are expected to be licensed, pass a test, be insured… to simply have a permit to do things.

Many of the occupations and simple tasks mentioned above require insurance, most commonly, malpractice or liability insurance for the doctors and lawyers. Automotive insurance functions in the same manner for those of us driving our car around and not wanting the responsibility of paying out of pocket when we are at fault in an automobile accident.

The point here is that there are those who share the responsibility of driving a vehicle, piloting a plane, or taking someone’s welfare, even their life, in their hands in the operating room or the court room. And even the people we have cut our hair are expected to be, at minimum, licensed before they are allowed to begin lopping our locks.

But what of gun ownership? The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts. These are the only states in the union that require the licensing of long guns and handguns. Two or three additional states require handguns to be licensed. Open carry permits/licensing and concealed carry permits/licensing laws are all over the place in this country.

In the U.S. territories? Well, the laws are quite different there. American Somoa (where handguns are banned from civilian possession), Guam, Northern Mariana Islands (handguns are also banned here), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands both require guns to be licensed.

What is going on? How do we say that a piece of equipment that kills, on average, 30,000 people a year, and has only one true use – to kill something – should have no registration requirement or other method to keep a handle on who owns guns and whose guns are resulting in the deaths?

More severe restrictions were placed on cars, most specifically making seat-belts mandatory in cars that were brought to market, and then making the wearing of the seat-belts required, the number of deaths by auto has gone down from a high of 54,589 in 1972 to averaging in the low 30,000’s since 2009.

Remember: we are not talking apples to apples here. The number of motor vehicles owned by Americans in 2010 was 239.8 million. That is 828 vehicles per 1,000 people. The number of guns per 100 people in the U.S. (as of 2014) is 88.8 per 100 people, but are only found in about 52 million households. That’s based on a less than specific number of guns thought to be in private ownership (certainly a seriously strong argument for registering and licensing them) nearing 300 million. Comparing the number of cars to the number of guns, the numbers may be similar, but we must always remember: vehicles are not designed for killing, just about every death by auto is a true accident.

The same cannot be said for guns, not with the suicide rate, the murder rate and the accidental death rate. How many people should be dead by gun in the United States every year? Zero, because every single death is preventable with better regulation, better training, better mental health care. Every last one. Preventable.

I am a software consultant who believes that the sooner we learn to accept and love the diversity of all peoples, the sooner we will figure out how to improve everyone's lives, which benefits us all. I love dogs, writing, gardening, photography and movies. I love dogs, did I mention that already? Mine are a three-pack of Beagle-ish boys named Fred, Homer and Atticus. I truly hit the doggie jackpot, but I usually do. Shelter dogs are the ONLY way to go!


  1. God did not write the constitution. God doesn’t care about the US constitution. Right to bear arms is not in the 10 commandments. That there are amendments itself expresses the the US constitution is not perfect. Its a document made by some smart dudes. Sure, we celebrate them, but its not like the constitution was handed to us from Moses. I want the to own a gun because its fun to shoot stuff, not because of some holy 2nd amendment. I also like to set fire to things, eat fried chicken and have sex for fun, but I dont need some constitutional amendment to give me those “rights”. So lets come up with a better reason to have our guns, besides hiding behind the silly constitution. All you 2nd amendment lovers dont worship the rest of the consitution, do you, like its the bible? Its a clear moral right to live free and choose to do whatever we wish, as long as it does not do unwarranted harm to others.

  2. Perhaps the writer of this article was absent the day in the 7th grade when they went over American history and the U.S. Constitution. Would you also be in favor of a written test to attend you house of worship? Wasn’t it southern Democrats who had tests in ordeer to prevent minorities from voting?

  3. DVLUVSDOGS01: you are wrong in almost every statement you make. I’d post detailed examples but you likely will delete and block me just as you did on the Facebook page.

    The 2nd amendment is perfectly clear to anyone with any understanding of basic grammar. It cannot be read as anything but an individual right with any grammatical validity. I say that as a professional editor.

    It does not suggest at all that you can regulate arms. Well Regulated in 18th century language meant well operating. which is why the major maker of quality clocks of the time was called “Regulator.” The right is recognized as belonging to the people, not just to the militia. (Even though if you knew US law that is the vast majority of the people anyway.) you might also note that in the strongest protective ;language of ALL of the bill of rights this right is recognized as being without ANY valid infringement whatsoever.

    Violent crime in general, and gun crime specifically has dropped VERY dramatically and steadily since 1994. The modern 24 hour news cycle just makes it seem otherwise. You might note the only major slice of gun violence that has risen in that time is cop on citizen shootings and killing, ans you wish to give these cops a force monopoly. Absurd, illogical, and just plain dumb.

    EVERY direct 2nd amendment Supreme Court ruling has recognized it as an individual right. Long before the current crop of justices.

    Our founders meant it, clearly, as an individual right and left extensive writings on that very subject.

    Grammar says you are wrong. Law says you are wrong. History says you are wrong.

    Got the guts for a fact based debate or will you delete me like you did on Facebook?

    • If you believe that the SC has ever recognized the 2nd Amendment as protecting an individual right to gun ownership from state regulation before McDonald in 2010, cite the case. Before this case, the SC had never overturned a state regulation of gun ownership, possession or use. There had been conflict over the federal government’s infringements of state rights. But even then, until DC v. Heller, these cases were always based on issues of federalism and not based on an individual right to gun ownership. You seem to basing your views of the law based on what you believe or what you perceive that most people believe. You are not basing it on the language of the Constitution, its meaning at the time, or the way that it has been interpreted by the SC over the past 200+ years. If you have evidence to support your statements about SC rulings, you should be able to cite them.

      Your interpretation of “well-regulated” is a little odd. Regulated means governed or ordered by rules. I agree that well-regulated could mean well-ordered but to suggest that there is some sharp difference between ordered and regulated is an odd distinction with no basis in the English language then or now. Something becomes well-ordered when there are rules that are followed. You could argue that something could be well-ordered or well-regulated without government- state, local, or federal- to provide the rules or order. I agree with this. However, that takes the words completely out of context in which they are written. This amendment was a document written by a government official, passed by a government institution, and ratified by other government institutions. The language of the amendment specifically relates the concept of well-regulated to a government institution. Perhaps it does not require that a government institution provide all the rules regulating the militia, but it clearly grants that some level of government, specifically states, has both the right and obligation to ensure that militias are well-regulated. Since the right to keep and bear arms is directly linked to the concept of militias, it is more than reasonable to interpret the amendment to mean that states have the right to regulate firearms.

      Your claim that the language of the 2nd Amendment is the more protective than other amendments is simply not a sustainable point. The first amendment includes the language “shall not be abridged” without any qualifying clause or phrase. Most of the other amendments include similar language that seem to provide absolute protection of a particular right. However, in every case- including speech, religion, unreasonable search and seizure, trials by a jury of peers, right to an attorney, etc. the SC has allowed exceptions based on a variety of balancing factors. The idea that this rich history of constitutional interpretation that has sustained the Constitution for 200+ years should be thrown out the window to satisfy your particular view of this right seems to justify the claim that your reading of the Constitution is extreme and far outside the mainstream of the history of this country or a reasoned interpretation of constitutional law.

  4. I’d leave a detailed reply on how all of you who deny the 2nd Amendment recognizes an individual right are, but on the same post on the QM Facebook page I already did. A post filled with legal, historical, and all verifiable citations of fact. Hard information impossible to ignore or rebut. The result? I had my posts removed and my ability to post on the QM Facebook page blocked. It was an unimpeachable slam-dunk, which is why censorship was the only response I suspect.

    I am a progressive/liberal of long standing. (My first political campaign was Eugene McCarthy in 1968). Feel free to peruse my Facebook page, I hide nothing on it. (I am Michael R. Burhans). It disturbs me greatly as a liberal to see an unthinking Tea-Party like orthodoxy develop on the 2nd Amendment where even informed fact base debate is simply not allowed in the liberal community.

    I challenge the admins here to reinstate me and my posts on Facebook and debate me on this issue. Your page says you value information and honesty. Deleting my information you couldn’t rebut takes away information, and is completely intellectually dishonest..

    One little thing for you to consider, your position requires you to believe that 10% of the Bill of Rights are not a right. . . . . Why then would it be put IN the Bill of Rights?

    • Hi Michael. Thank you for your accurate responses to these, quite frankly, idiots. For the past 40 years we have seen a concerted effort by Right Wing Evangelical Christians to basically take over our country. People like some of the commenters here, along with most of the current Republican presidential candidates, are the face of the New Christian Fascism. And yhey must be dragged out into the light of facts and Reason, and rendered powerless, lest we fall into another Fascist country, not at all unlike what happened in Germany during the Liberal Weimar Republic’s failure of governance in the 1920s thru 1933. Thanks to a backlash of unregulated Liberalism, Fascist ideology was sble to easily take over the National feelings. This same ideology is what propels the current Right here in the USA as well as several other countries, such as England, Israel, Russia, France, and others.

  5. The 2nd Amendment reads, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The plain language of the amendment says that the state has the right to regulate firearms. There are no rights in the Constitution, including the right to speech, that are absolute. It would be nice if the people who cite the Constitution to defend their political views actually knew what the Constitution says.

    • It is convenient for the right-leaning, NRA supporting, gun-loving population to ignore the “well-regulated militia” part of the second amendment in order to get to their favorite part, the “right to keep and bear arms” part. That this amendment was specific to the militia has been ignored by far too many, including those on the left. I think it is sad that the NRA has manipulated the discussion to the point that they have the Supreme Court siding with them on the individual right, and that so many smart people on the left are allowing that interpretation to stand. More than sad, it’s downright pathetic.

      • I agree that the SC got it wrong on the individual right interpretation of the amendment. It was an activist decision that went directly against the traditional interpretation of the amendment and the wishes of the majority of the public as expressed through its elected branches. It was exactly the kind of decision that is often denounced by believers in the doctrine of judicial restraint, as Chief Justice Roberts claims to be and often is.

        However, even if one interprets the 2nd amendment to imply an individual right, and there are those who have argued that it does and this interpretation is not without merit, it is impossible to argue that the authors of this amendment did not explicitly allow for the regulation of this right. The Supreme Court, has a times, upheld restrictions on EVERY right in the Constitution. Some of these rights seem to be protected by language in the Constitution that does not offer an opportunity for the government to regulate them. The 2nd Amendment includes language that explicitly allows for government regulation. It almost requires a person to be illiterate to argue that the government cannot regulate firearms based on the language of that amendment. It certainly requires them to be unfamiliar with the plain language of the Constitution.

  6. I live in Texas. I own a revolver. I had to register it to buy it. I went to a 8 hour classroom and took a written and shooting test with pretty high requirements, had to pass with 80% on the written and 90% on the shooting test to get my concealed carry license. I no longer “carry” the gun on my person, but it remains in a child-safe location in our bedroom. (even though we have no children present on a daily basis, only visitors). I agree with everything Denise Vanneman says and yet, I own a handgun and a license to use it to defend myself in a situation where equal force is being used against me.
    The problem is that with the availability of Illegal guns to be purchased outside of this licensing and registration requirement, it is indeed a need for closer legal scrutiny and legislative change BUT those things won’t happen as long as HUGE lobbies and entities own the public officials we “elect” who would succumb to the will of these lobbies. Personally, I don’t see it ever changing, wish as I do.
    I am not a hypocrite, I am living in a state where 80% of the citizens have guns and 92% of the criminals do as well. When I move, I will probably sell my gun — both potential states I would consider have much better statistics and I won’t feel the need.

    • Unfortunately, the great (not) state of Texas has done nothing but loosen gun laws. Whatever your “registration” of your gun was, your state does not require registration of guns. It is not mandatory. I suspect that when you first got your revolver, the rules were quite different. I would say, Diane, that is you actual have a chance to get out of that state, you should jump on it. Texas’ current governor seems no brighter and considerate of the safety of the populace than the last one.

      • Texas does require registration of any guns. It does require that you go through an NRA certified safety course before you get your license to carry a concealed handgun.

        • In Texas, you can buy a gun and not have to register it or have a license. You only need to go through a safety course if you feel that you have to have a CHL/concealed carry permit. Frankly, if I lived in Texas (or Georgia or some of these other backwards states), I might feel the need to carry a gun myself. But fortunately, my last visit ever to Texas, until common sense makes its way back to the state, will happen later this year. Halle-freaking-lujah!

  7. Hi Ms. Vanneman. The problem in the USA about guns and gun violence, is terrible.
    To me, and a growing number of people, this problem is becoming more about changing the culture, rather than applying law after law in a rather unduccessful attempt to have the government fix this terrible issue.
    The problem with guns, is not the guns themselves. It is the culture surrounding them. Until this is changed by most Americans, gun violence simply will not get reduced.

    The flaw in your complaint about licensing for firearms, is the following:

    Ownership of a firearm is enshrined in our Constitution. You do not find any other ownership clause in the US Constitution.

    Because of the 2nd Amendment, gun ownership is not just ownership, it is a political Right. As such, it has equal weight along with voting Rights, Speech Rights, and other Rights such as the Right to privacy, the 4th Amendment.

    To me personally, the real provlem is not the Right to bear arms, but the culture around guns. Look at our pop culture. Full of violence, much of it done with guns. Look at how gun owners treat their firearms, as a phallic symbol, as a piece of furniture, as a ‘harmless’ toy. This is why we keep seeing daily reports of children finding unsecured firearms and firing them, often with deadly results.

    I think rather than attacking the violence through law creation, it needs to be attacked with grassroots, common sense talking and changing our culture. Engaging those fear filled people who cling to their guns as if that is the solution to their paranoid delusions of government coming to take their guns, (which happens to be a fallacy invented by the NRA and the gun lobby to sell more guns, to great success I might add).

    I hope you take the time to read this.

    • Your comments are thoughtful and I appreciate your right to your opinion, Nicholas. Actually, the second amendment is one of the most poorly written phrases ever written. But even if it weren’t so poorly written, what is clear in the second amendment is that the men who wrote it intended for the people to have access to bear arms as part of a “militia”. It was never intended as an individual right, no matter how that definition has been manipulated by the NRA or that this current crop of right-leaning jerks on the Supreme Court have codified this incorrect interpretation. The gun culture is a huge problem here in the United States. Sitting back and doing nothing has gotten us just more of the same. My preference would be to go the way of the United Kingdom and Australia and some of these U.S. territories and ban individual access to handguns altogether, but I know that this will not happen. And since it will not happen, I see absolutely no reason not to regulate the arms, as the second amendment suggests.

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