Tuesday, February 1, 2011

South Dakota Lawmakers Propose Gun Purchase Mandate

In an attempt to make a point about the individual mandate found in the health care reform bill, South Dakota lawmakers have decided to follow the example of congressional conservatives and waste the publics time and money in crafting symbolic legislation that serves no purpose other then to make them feel better - the midwestern state's right-wing thought it would be fun to make a bill requiring every adult over the age of 21 to purchase a gun

This is ridiculous for one major reason - South Dakota is not the federal government, and as argued by conservatives, the federal government lacks the authority to establish a federal mandate because it violates states' rights.  Based on those opinions, the lawmakers who thought it was a grand idea to write a bill forcing everyone to purchase a gun, even though they didn't think it would go anywhere, would be proving no point.  Their actions are similar to a comment conservative author Ann Coulter made on Fox News.

"By the way, if this is constitutional, Republicans should turn around and mandate all citizens be forced to purchase a gun. And a Bible. There's a lot more evidence that owning a gun and a Bible is better for society than everyone having to own health insurance," Coulter told the right-wing cable station. 

Coulter offered no proof as to how a gun or a bible trump health care.

It still isn't quite sure how beig forced to own a gun is comparable to having to purchase health care, other then you are being made to purchase something Republicans love to praise.

Rep. Hal Wick, sponsor of the bill, told the Souix Falls Argus Leader the following: "Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance,” he said."

I wonder what Wick would have to say about South Dakota's requirement for individuals who own a motor vehicle to purchase insurance?  Is that not simliar to an individual mandate?


  1. One of the basic principles of our Constitution is the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. One of the basic principles of these clauses is a law is unconstitutional if other valid legal means exist. Applying these clauses, the first question a court would ask is what is the purpose. In this instance, the only purpose would be for personal safety. However, some persons would be very uncomfortable in owning a gun because they do not know how to use one or be incapable of using one. As a result, they could use other means to provide for their safety. Therefore, the law would be unconstitutional. But health care is different. You do not have absolute control over your health and you lack of insurance imposes a burden upon society. Whereas, your decision to purchase or not purchase a gun has no corresponding impact upon society. Personally, I hope the wingnuts keep it up. They are clearly demonstrating their mettle.

  2. You make a very interesting point - what about people who can't use guns, and I'm not talking about people who legally cannot (The Huffington Post pointed out that S. Dakota made it illegal for legal aliens to posess guns in the wake of 9/11), but who physically cannot.

    It bothers me that these methods of invalidating the law, or the president, are getting the attention from our lawmakers when they can be focusing on the real issues.

    A representative in Texas recently proposed legislation making it a crime of anyone to try and implement any part of the health care reform, and that included other legislators writing bills similar to the federal law!

    Arizona is trying to push a proof-of-citizenship law, requiring the presentation of an original long form birth certificate to be placed on their ballots - an obvious attack against the president's citizenship.

    Instead of thinking how we can make a mockery of the legal system by introducing stupid symbolic bills, why can't they try to come up with real solutions or alternatives.

    Don't like health care reform? Fine, but come up with an alternative and pursue it. Republicans control the House, so why hasn't any meaningful legislation come out yet?

  3. I'm guessing the legislator has no intention of actually trying to pass this bill. I imagine he's trying to prove some bigger point, hoping liberals will call it unconstitutional so he can say "ah ha!, and so is the healthcare mandate." It's really just a trap. I could go on and on about the apples to airplanes comparison between the two...


Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.