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Thursday, July 28, 2016

10 things we freedom-loving Americans regulate more than guns

From Kinder eggs to voting laws

Here in America, we love our guns and freedom. But maybe not freedom so much, since we have an awful lot of ridiculous things we regulate more than guns.

To keep our children safe, we require them to be 48 inches tall to go on adult rides at most amusement parks.

Yet it’s perfectly legal for those same children to own a rifle or long gun in 30 states. Go figure.

Here are just ten of many things that are regulated more strictly than guns.

10. Kinder surprise eggs: These much-loved treats from Italy have a chocolate shell and a plastic capsule with a fun and collectible little toy inside. Alas, the US has banned candies with toys inside since 1938 because they’ve been deemed choking hazards.

Smuggling those Kinder eggs across our borders carries a $2,500 fine per egg, but people take the risk anyway because Kinder eggs are so freaking awesome.

9. Sudafed. Speaking of things we Americans regulate more than guns, there’s Sudafed. Unlike Nyquil, this long-time staple from your medicine cabinet won’t even give you a buzz or knock you out for a long night’s nap.

But thanks to all those Walter White wannabes cooking meth with Sudafed in their ramshackle trailers, you have to show your ID to buy the stuff. Your local pharmacy then creepily keeps your ID on file in case you try to buy more than the amount allowed in your state.

8. Abortions. Although the US Supreme court struck down the Texas abortion clinic laws, abortions are still among the many things we regulate more than guns. 

On top of the targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) laws threatened by that SCOTUS ruling, there are fetal heartbeat laws; bans on health insurance coverage, waiting periods, parental consent laws, ultrasound requirements, and more.

7. Raw milk. In 1987, the FDA required all milk and products made with milk to be pasteurized except for some cheeses. While 29 states allow you to buy raw milk from a farm, very few let grocery stores sell the stuff.

While most people would never want to drink unpasteurized milk, some folks are such huge fans they don’t mind jumping through hoops — or risk the Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria — to consume the stuff.

6. Beds. Beds are among the most ridiculous things we regulate more than guns.

Who came up with those tags that threaten you with jail if you remove them? Even beds for your pets, pillows and seat cushions have those tags. But have you ever seen a gun with one of those ominous tags attached?

5. Pets. When you adopt that adorable new cat or dog, you’ll need to get them an assortment of shots and a license. Some cities even have special laws for pit bulls and other dog breeds seen as “aggressive.”

That’s right. You don’t need a license to own a gun (though you do need one for concealed carry in most states), but you’d better not get caught open-carrying your Rottweiler or wiener dog.

4. Alcohol. Alcohol is a classic thing we regulate more than guns. To buy booze, you need to show ID to prove you’re 21 or over.

And then, if you get pulled over on the way home, you might have to take a breathalyzer test to prove you’re not too drunk to drive. Some states, like Massachusetts, also limit alcohol sales to certain hours (though to be fair, even 24-hour stores like Walmart limit gun sales to certain hours as well).

3. Voting. Just about anyone can legally buy a gun in America just by showing proof of your in-state address (though most gun stores require state ID). Meanwhile, 18 states require you to have approved state photo ID in order to vote, and 15 more require approved (but not necessarily photo) ID.

2. Luggage. As we often see pointed out on Twitter, people on the no-fly list can still buy guns. That’s right. Even if the FBI suspects you so strongly of planning terrorist attacks that they won’t let you get on a plane, you can still buy a gun.

But if you do get on that plane, you’d better not pack any bottled water, “creamy dips and spreads,” rollerblades or “recreational oxygen” in your carry-on or all hell will break lose.

1. Cars. Cars are the perfect example of things we regulate more than guns. Like guns, cars hold a special place in our hearts as symbols of power and autonomy.

But despite the fact that many of us absolutely need our cars to go about our daily lives, we still cheerfully accept all kinds of laws and restrictions.

To drive a car, we take a written test, a vision test, and a road test. We then fill out a form with our personal information and pay for a driver’s license.  

We then have to renew that license every few years. To own a car, we register and insure it each year with nary a murmur. 

But try to pass a law that requires a background check before buying a gun and people go crazy.