Is South Dakota Trying to Mandate Gun Ownership?

posted at 1:36 pm on February 1, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

This is yet another of those headlines which is custom designed as catnip to get all of the natives up in arms. (Pun intended.)

Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun

Five South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require any adult 21 or older to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.”

The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would give people six months to acquire a firearm after turning 21. The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm.

Nor does the measure specify what type of firearm. Instead, residents would pick one “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.”

Introduced by Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls) this isn’t really a story about 2nd amendment rights. It’s about health care. Wick states up front that he knows the bill will be killed before it ever has a chance to become law and he’s only proposing this to make a point. If the government can force Americans to buy any other product, such as a health insurance policy, what is to stop them from forcing you to buy a gun?

While I see what he’s doing here, and it’s a valid argument to make, I’m still not thrilled with the path he has chosen to make his point. We’ve seen other proposals in the past – in Georgia and Texas just to name two – which were far less tongue in cheek and they seem to uniformly hurt the effort to maintain our 2nd amendment rights. It plays to the popular, media driven theme of “gun nuts” versus responsible gun owners.

Further, it clouds the basic argument. The constitution takes great pains to assure the rights of Americans as to what they may do, not what they must do. We all have freedom of speech, but that includes the right to remain silent. (A lesson sadly lost on many modern politicians.)

Wick’s efforts may wind up backfiring on him. Instead of spurring a much needed discussion about the constitutionality of a mandate in Obamacare it could derail the discussion back to gun control – I’m sorry, Democrats… “restrictions” – at a time when 2nd amendment rights are already in the crosshairs – sorry again – following the events in Tuscon.

UPDATE: Insty gets into the technical side of it in the State vs. Federal role argument, a point already coming up in comments.

I don’t think this bill makes the constitutional point its sponsor intends — state governments, unlike the federal government, are not limited to enumerated powers. But even the federal government could require citizens to own guns under its militia power, as opposed to the commerce power. In fact, it did just that in the Militia Act of 1792, but I rather doubt that this power would extend to requiring ObamaCare under that clause, which empowers Congress “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

It’s a fair point, with certain provisos attached. If we were talking about banning, rather than requiring guns, recent court decisions would seem to indicate this is changing, but the powers of the state and federal governments are obviously in play and quite different. Of course neither of the scenarios in question deal with preventing someone from doing something, but with forcing someone to purchase something.

But as I tried to point out above, I wasn’t attempting to address the legal aspects of the point being made in South Dakota. It’s a question of steering the national discussion in response to such a provocative proposal, not the specific legality of the N.D. bill. And if we’re going to draw up a parallel to focus a brighter spotlight on the Obamacare mandate, gun laws of any sort might not be the best path, particularly at this juncture in history.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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A rare outbreak of perspicacity on Hot Air. Have to admit, I’m surprised.

bifidis on February 1, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Why not? Isn’t a well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 1:38 PM

If the government can force Americans to buy any other product, such as a health insurance policy, what is to stop them from forcing you to buy a gun?

The hilarious thing is, Congress has already done something similar….in 1792.

crr6 on February 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

MMMmmmmm Deeessseeerrrrtttt Eeeeaaagggllleeee

Say, if I move to SD in the event that this passes, if I cannot afford a firearm, will one be provided for me?

JamesLee on February 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

It’s a good move, because it reminds liberals that they benefit from constitutional protections also.

pedestrian on February 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Rush said earlier that mandating healthcare would be just like President Palin mandating gun ownership, or something to that effect. While I would rather live under the gun ownership mandate, neither are constitutional.

Looking forward to the leftie heads exploding.

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Barbara Bush Thread: Ahh, the perfect opportunity for Hot Airheads to combine their congenital misogyny with trying to distance themselves from “yesterday’s” Republicans. bifidis on February 1, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Obooba Sells Out Egypt Thread: More brainy reasoning from Hot Air. Gawd. Please, make the stupidity stop. bifidis on February 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM

This Thread: A rare outbreak of perspicacity on Hot Air. Have to admit, I’m surprised. bifidis on February 1, 2011 at 1:38 PM

We’re flattered by the attention you lavish on us, even though you hold is in contempt. May we have some more?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM

When the left wanted the Constitution to be a living breathing document, they didn’t mean this kind of living and breathing.

Now if SD were to mandate that everyone have a gun as a means to commit abortion, they might get the libs on-board.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The hilarious thing is, Congress has already done something similar….in 1792.

crr6 on February 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

No one doubts the fact that the federal government can compel people do doing things within its enumerated powers. National defense is one of those. Health insurance is not.

pedestrian on February 1, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Hot Airheads ONCE AGAIN making complete fools of themselves
bifidis on January 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM

She has a way with words, no doubt, must be that big brain.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Well, at least one key cog in the Obooba administration is already on board with forced abortion and sterilization. Why haggle about the means?

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Then it’s a win for everyone, think of the bumper stickers the libs could finally put on their mopeds:

“You Can Have My Gun When You Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers But Only After I’ve Murdered My Unborn Baby With It”

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Akzed on February 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM

I would guess college freshman level, taking first creative writing course and trying out some new techniques. Could also be a tweaker, running out of stash and cash.

a capella on February 1, 2011 at 1:54 PM

“You Can Have My Gun When You Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers But Only After I’ve Murdered My Unborn Baby With It”

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 1:53 PM

We have a winner! Of course, you forgot the “…after I told grandma she isn’t worthy of the money it will cost to keep you alive” part of the liberal mantra.

search4truth on February 1, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I know Ed thinks differently, but Jazz is not ready for prime time HA…

d1carter on February 1, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Looking forward to the leftie heads exploding.

CTSherman on February 1, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Just the words “President Palin” should have been good enough for several small-yield libtard cranial explosions.

SKYFOX on February 1, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Isn’t being “barred from owning a firearm” a pre-existing condition? How is this fair? Everyone should have a right to firearms. I thought that would be the point of this bill. ////ssss

conservativescientist on February 1, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The Republicans should put up several of these in the US Congress to show the slippery slope of totalitarianism the Democrats have begun…

They can always pass it first then find out what in it…

petunia on February 1, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The Unorganized Militia(10 USC 311) is inclusive of all men and women under the age of 45. Any State can ensure that the Unorganized Militia is properly armed so long as rules and regulations do not make it standing: that is it does not become a permanent force structure.

This allows States to exercise their Art I, Sec 10 ability to gather the militia for invasion or of danger which will not admit delay waiting for the federal government to find its butt with two hands. The States did not give up their right to be States by becoming part of the United States: the federal government cannot be everywhere, at all times, in all circumstances and the States are the signatories to the Constitution and must be able to survive even when the federal government cannot protect them. The States rely upon an armed citizenry for those times which requires: 1) a citizenry, and 2) arms in the hands of citizens.

This is far different than health care as the very survival of the States as singular entities depends upon their citizens ability to defend them. That is survival of the States, not mere commerce but the ability to have commerce by surviving as an entity. The bill may go farther than people expect it to… and this brings up MT, UT, WY, TN and other States wishing to have NO federal oversight upon arms made within a State sold to citizens of that State. Those challenges are still going through the court system and will prove very interesting in the arena of States rights. The States did not sign everything over to the federal government and the federal government must be reminded of this: it is a limited agreement.

ajacksonian on February 1, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Say, if I move to SD in the event that this passes, if I cannot afford a firearm, will one be provided for me?

JamesLee on February 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

*Has visions of a P90 with all the trimmings.*

Dark-Star on February 1, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I know Ed thinks differently, but Jazz is not ready for prime time HA…

d1carter on February 1, 2011 at 1:57 PM

IDK-I think things have really gone downhill since HA changed hands.
He’s perfect for the new HA.

ajacksonian on February 1, 2011 at 2:01 PM

I think I am right to assume that the federal govt should not be able to call National Guard troops from each state to active duty without the permission of the govs of the states, right?
Or am missing something about that?

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 2:05 PM

While I see what he’s doing here, and it’s a valid argument to make, I’m still not thrilled with the path he has chosen to make his point. We’ve seen other proposals in the past – in Georgia and Texas just to name two – which were far less tongue in cheek and they seem to uniformly hurt the effort to maintain our 2nd amendment rights. It plays to the popular, media driven theme of “gun nuts” versus responsible gun owners.

Besides, now they need a law to require people to buy a Bible, per Ann Coulter.

tom on February 1, 2011 at 2:09 PM

*Has visions of a P90 with all the trimmings.*
Dark-Star on February 1, 2011 at 2:03 PM

You will have to grit your teeth to buy ammo, it hurts.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 2:09 PM

You will have to grit your teeth to buy ammo, it hurts.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Yeah, that’s the downside…a pump-action 10 gauge would probably be a more realistic choice.

Dark-Star on February 1, 2011 at 2:16 PM

So…Where do I go to place my order for the MPS-AA12 Sledgehammer?
I’ve been fantasizing about that baby since watching The Expendables.

ZeeMI on February 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Gawd. Please, make the stupidity stop. bifidis on February 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM

The moment you stop posting, dearie, it will.

Midas on February 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM

We shouldn’t jump to conclusions, Jazz. We need South Dakotans to pass this so we can find out what’s in it.

Red Cloud on February 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Do I recall correctly that there is a town in the state of Georgia which enacted such a law? It was a TOWN, but I seem to remember that the law directed that there be at least one firearm in every home in the town and at least one adult qualified to use it. I also seem to recall a dramatic decrease in crime after the ordinance became law. Can anyone help me out here?

oldleprechaun on February 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Another person confuses North and South Dakota. Sigh. Check your last paragraph, Jazz.

Lily on February 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Yeah, that’s the downside…a pump-action 10 gauge would probably be a more realistic choice.
Dark-Star on February 1, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Are you a masochist or an elephant hunter?

I believe a match M1A or an L115A3 should be provided by the government to every American household.

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Another person confuses North and South Dakota. Sigh. Check your last paragraph, Jazz.

Lily on February 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM

I get used to everyone dissing us & forgetting we exist.
Since SD has the heads, most people remember it.
American knowledge of geography is deplorable.

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM

The constitution takes great pains to assure the rights of Americans as to what they may do, not what they must do.

Umm no, Actually the constitution takes great pains to tell the government what is cant do and more importantly limiting what is can do.

Has nothing to do with what the citizens may or must do

the_ancient on February 1, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Apples oranges.

And fu*king stupid ones at that.

“If the government can force Americans to buy any other product, such as a health insurance policy, what is to stop them from forcing you to buy a gun?”

This is also fu*king stupid.

Dave Rywall on February 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM

After my parents retired, they liked to travel around the country. When Dad became too old to drive, we were discussing all the states he and Mother had visited. He allowed that they driven to 48 of the 50 (or 57) states and when I said “Oh, you missed Hawaii and Alaska.” He replied, “No, we missed Hawaii and South Dakota.” Neither he or mother could ever explain how they did that.

oldleprechaun on February 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM

oldleprechaun on February 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Yup, this is nothing new.
In the city of Kennesaw, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, a law was passed in 1982 requiring each head of household to own a gun and ammunition. Many have claimed crime has decreased.

topdog on February 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Apples oranges.

And fu*king stupid ones at that.

“If the government can force Americans to buy any other product, such as a health insurance policy, what is to stop them from forcing you to buy a gun?”

This is also fu*king stupid.

Dave Rywall on February 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM

No, car insurance and health insurance were apples and oranges.

fossten on February 1, 2011 at 3:14 PM

I think gun laws are the best way to make the point.

Why? Because if you are going to gore a liberal ox, you need to use a means which will inordinately rile said ox.

Would such a type of law outrage liberals if it required everyone to own a printing press? I doubt it — they would rush to assure that the Federal Government allocated the necessary funds so that said purchase could occur by even those incapable of affording same.

Can you imagine the outrage of liberals if the State were to assert that gun ownership is such an important right that the State is obligated to purchase the necessary firearm for those incapable of purchasing it themselves?

Take that thought and extend it to abortion, or to any other healthcare capability, and you have the liberals pinned between a rock and a hard place.

Under that thought, I’d lower the requirement age to 10.

unclesmrgol on February 1, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Since SD has the heads, most people remember it.
American knowledge of geography is deplorable.

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM

But, they also know that D.C. has the aholes.

Mirimichi on February 1, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Major problem with this proposal… it would only apply to one state.

This needs to be a federal law. Buried in the 2000 page proposal shuold be mandates that everyone purchase a minimum number of cigarettes per month as well as a minimum quantiy of alcohol.

The program will require a massive expansion to the ATF bureaucracy for oversight purposes.

malclave on February 1, 2011 at 3:46 PM

In the city of Kennesaw, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, a law was passed in 1982 requiring each head of household to own a gun and ammunition. Many have claimed crime has decreased.

topdog on February 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

If I recall, this was done in direct response to Morton Grove Illinois passing an almost complete ban on any firearms. I’ve seen figures in the past on crime rates in each side by side, and it was pretty much what one would expect.

JamesLee on February 1, 2011 at 3:57 PM

But, they also know that D.C. has the aholes.

Mirimichi on February 1, 2011 at 3:32 PM

LMAO!

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM

mandates that everyone purchase a minimum number of cigarettes per month as well as a minimum quantiy of alcohol.

malclave on February 1, 2011 at 3:46 PM

My husband would be the most law biding citizen you have ever seen.

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Goreville, Illinois. Passed in 1982. Still on the books, but never enforced. It was a big FU to Morton Grove when they passed the, since repealed, handgun ban in 1981.

Sah-lute!

Speaking of which, I need to run into Goreville and get some milk.

98ZJUSMC on February 1, 2011 at 4:08 PM

WOOT!!!! Someone was paying attention to my example!!!

I’ve suggested for a while that the Obamacare mandate was setting a precedent that liberals really didn’t want, and that liberals should consider what could happen when applied to gun ownership (which is explicitly defined in the Constitution as a right).

AP: You can’t see the forest for the trees. South Dakota is pointing out that this could be enforced at the national level. And if you think a 1792 argument holds water with liberals, you obviously don’t talk with many liberals. Now a recent law, that’s another issue.

South Dakota is pointing out that the individual mandate sets a dangerous precedence prior to the Supreme Court hearing!

dominigan on February 1, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Are you a masochist or an elephant hunter?

Bishop on February 1, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Are you a nuisance or a smarta$$? (or both)

Dark-Star on February 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM

The hilarious thing is, Congress has already done something similar….in 1792.

crr6

and gave it up as a bad idea for the 20th Century

audiculous on February 1, 2011 at 5:18 PM

and gave it up as a bad idea for the 20th Century

audiculous on February 1, 2011 at 5:18 PM

…in the same manner as Obamacare was bad for the 21st Century.

unclesmrgol on February 1, 2011 at 5:27 PM

in the same manner as Obamacare was bad for the 21st Century.

unclesmrgol

haven’t yet seen much of Obamacare or of the 21st Century.
don’t yet know how bad things may get.

audiculous on February 1, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Switzerland mandates every house must have an assault weapon and at least 24 rounds of ammo.

JellyToast on February 1, 2011 at 5:59 PM

We shouldn’t jump to conclusions, Jazz. We need South Dakotans to pass this so we can find out what’s in it.

Red Cloud on February 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Win

Jazz Shaw on February 1, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I get used to everyone dissing us & forgetting we exist.
Since SD has the heads, most people remember it.
American knowledge of geography is deplorable.

Badger40 on February 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Well I never forget N.D.
A. Because I was born there (Beach)

B. It’s the only thing between us and the Canadian Hordes.

Lily on February 1, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I’d rather be forced to by a handgun then made to buy a Health Plan approved by the Federal Government.

MSGTAS on February 2, 2011 at 8:31 AM

haven’t yet seen much of Obamacare or of the 21st Century.
don’t yet know how bad things may get.

audiculous on February 1, 2011 at 5:56 PM

We are eleven years in. For eight of those years, everything was going swimmingly. But, during the reign of 44, it is as if someone has grasped the bases of our collective snarglies.

unclesmrgol on February 8, 2011 at 2:24 AM