Letters to the Editor

Car vs. gun

It seems as though every time there is serious discussion about the merits of gun control there will be pundits raising the issue of the carnage on our highways, as though there is some meaningful parallel between the two.

In the July 26 issue of the Herald, letter writer Karen Killen suggests that rather than concerning ourselves with the death toll from gun violence, we should pressure car manufacturers to make our cars safer, while another letter writer, Larry Valle, points to the carnage in Nice and facetiously suggests that perhaps they should ban all large powerful trucks.

These arguments gloss over some important differences.

First of all, the automobile industry is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in the world, with vehicles subject to safety, pollution and fuel economy standards that all continue to grow stricter as time progresses. Moreover, vehicles are subject to annual registration requirements and inspections in many places, while drivers are required to maintain both a license and insurance.

To what regulations are firearms manufacturers and users subject? More important, and this is the critical difference between vehicles and firearms, is that the principal design purpose for the former is not to kill or harm people.

If a car could be designed that would perform its primary function and provide absolute and complete protection for both its passengers and pedestrians it would constitute a design triumph. By contrast, the primary design function of a firearm is to kill, and one designed to make that impossible would render it useless.

David Silk, Boca Raton

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