Thursday, February 28, 2013

Window Tint and Gun Culture

Want to tie together a couple of seemingly disparate ideas...

In California, it is technically illegal to tint your driver and passenger windows. The main rational is that it presents a danger to law enforcement. That danger being.... firearms.

The backup rational is a physics argument: interior light reflections can cause misleading visuals potentially increasing accidents.

The light problem could be solved by the application of a gradient tint that allows the driver to see their mirrors untinted, but cuts the amount of solar energy entering the vehicle's cabin. (Update: I'm informed it is legal to coat windows with a UV blocker provided it's completely opaque. Most manufacturers do this as a matter of practice.)

The arguments in support of tint reform are twofold: primary is an climate/environmental/comfort argument. Tinted cars use less energy running AC, means less air pollution.

The second is an easy one: JOBZ! (film manufacture/sale, installers, etc).

There is an aspect that will have a curious opponent: a security state apparatus that will not easily accept having its view curtailed.

I don't think there's a practical political path to simply change the Vehicle Code to allow tinted windows without increasing the regulation of firearms. So, will gun owners endure greater regulation in exchange for tinting their windows a darker shade?

It turns out there are few aftermarket manufacturers of gradient-tint films, and they tend toward egregious styles. This makes me wonder if a mandatory tinting scheme (compliance and economic incentives) would lead to development of this form of tint (think of a window that's tinted except around the area where you view your mirrors - that would remain clear, but get gradually darker the farther up and back on the window.)