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The Obligation to Bear Arms

February 1, 2011

The great thing about South Dakota legislators is their low learning curve — it makes for such and interesting session.  Any lessons that might have been learned from our legislature’s recent flirtation with a law about climate change and astrology were ignored.  Five of our stalwarts have just come through with a bill that has another good chance of featuring South Dakota as fodder in all the late-night comedians’ monologues.

Yesterday a bill was introduced to require South Dakota citizens to own a gun.  Effective January 1, 2012, the law would require our citizens (excepting, of course, folks who are presently barred from owning a firearm)  to acquire a firearm within six months after turning 21. years of age.  Residents could pick a firearm “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.”

In fairness I have to add that Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, one of the bill’s sponsors knows that it will not pass. Rep. Wick just decided to introduce the bill to underscore that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional.  Government hadn’t ought to be requiring purchases of its citizens.

That being said, Rep. Wick’s bill has that undeniable ding-bat quality that attracts late-night TV hosts and their writers.  And when one looks at Wick’s gun ownership bill in context with some of the other legislation our representatives are debating this session (e.g., letting senior citizens shoot out the windows of their cars; eliminating any season or regulation on the taking of prairie dogs;  hunting with snowmobiles; bills to supersede federal authority over public lands; restricting the creation of conservation easements; etc.), I suspect those hosts and writers are going to disregard the side-bar explanation that this legislation is motivated by constitutional principles.

Unfortunately, our legislators have been too fond of puffing up and pronouncing that they’re “just doing the people’s business.”  Those out-of-staters are likely to buy that, and then we’re all going to get tarred with the same brush.

— Margadant

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 6:08 pm

    Tarring my outstate brush even as I type this.

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