Driving is not an inalienable right

February 2nd, 2011

From CBS Atlanta:

A state lawmaker from Marietta is sponsoring a bill that seeks to do away with Georgia driver’s licenses.
State Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, has filed House Bill 7, calling it the “Right to Travel Act.”
In his bill, Franklin states, “Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.”

This guy gives Libertarians a bad name. While the right to travel–that is the ability to move freely without the permission of the state–could be characterized as an inalienable or natural right, the right to operate a vehicle on public roads is not.

Now, I am just¬†anticipating¬†possible objections–but Josh, what about the Second Amendment? If you are in favor of drivers licenses, wouldn’t you be in favor of licensing for firearms?

Let’s break this down. First, let’s separate keeping arms at home and carrying arms outside the home. Keeping a gun at home does not implicate the same kind of concerns animating drivers licenses. It is in your home, and not harming anyone else (unless they are there threatening you). Yes, people who turn guns in the home on family and loved ones are breaking the law, but so are people who drive their cars around in their home. No license will stop that.

Driving a 5,000 pound vehicle on a road, in contrast, is slightly analogous to carrying a weapon outside the home.

Now, let’s compare types of licensing regimes. Obtaining a drivers license is fairly easy. You take a written test, go through a brief road test, etc. If the permitting process for a carry permit is as easy, and is effectively a “Shall Issue” permit, then we’re cool. If it is a “May Issue”permit, then I have an issue. Throw in the fact that the Second Amendment is clearly an enumerated constitutional right, while the right to travel, is not so clearly defined, I think the case for access to concealed carry becomes greater than access to drivers licenses. Anyway, rant over.