Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Some South Dakota state legislators think they've found a clever way to mock supporters of the health care law:

Lawmakers in South Dakota have proposed a bill that would require all adults to own guns, a measure intended as a protest against the individual mandate for health insurance included in President Barack Obama's health reform law.

Adults over the age of 21 would have to buy a gun "sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense" and "suitable to their temperament, physical capacity and preference."

The legislators who are sponsoring the bill know it won't get far, but said it's a way to hammer home what they see as the unconstitutionality of a provision requiring everyone to purchase health insurance.

State Rep. Hal Wick, a Republican, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that the whole effort is about making a statement. "Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the state of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not," he said. "But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance." ...

Really? Right-wingers think mandatory gun ownership is a transparently absurd idea?

Funny -- I've never known a right-winger to make that case about a town that actually has mandatory gun ownership: Kenesaw, Georgia. In fact, World Net Daily describes the place as if it's paradise:

...In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw -- responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. -- unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of "Wild West" showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting -- as a victim, attacker or defender.

The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law....

I've searched the World Net Daily article thoroughly, and I see no suggestion that any right-winger thinks this mandate is absurd, or unconstitutional, or an abuse of the Commerce Clause. (As for the drop in crime, well, here in New York City crime has plummeted since 1981, and gun laws are still very, very strict.)

Nor have I heard any right-wingers complaining about the law Geuda Springs, Kansas, passed in 2003:

Residents of this tiny south-central Kansas community have passed an ordinance requiring most households to have guns and ammunition.

Noncomplying residents would be fined $10 under the ordinance, passed 3-2 earlier this month by City Council members....

In fact, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, praises such mandates to the skies and insists that they're deeply in the American grain:

... Today towns such as Kennesaw, Ga., Greenfeld, Idaho and Geuda Springs, Kan., which all require residents to own guns, are considered the oddity. But Clayton Cramer's terrific new book, "Armed America," shows that, in fact, gun ownership has been deeply woven into this country's history since the colonial period.

... In colonial times, as Cramer argues, people didn't own guns just for hunting. Numerous laws mandated that people have guns for personal defense and defense of the community, at home, while traveling and even in church.

Heads of households, whether men or women, were required to have a gun at home and fines of up to a month's wages were imposed on those who failed to meet this requirement.

In some states such as Maryland, fines were paid directly to inspectors so that authorities had a strong incentive to check. The only people exempt from these rules were Quakers, some indentured servants, or, in the South, blacks....

At least six colonies required people have guns with them at church. Church officials were required to check parishioners when they arrived for services to ensure they had a gun. Clergymen were required to have guns, too....

Is this accurate? It's John Lott, so who knows? What's clear is that Lott absolutely believes that gun mandates are a good idea, as do at least two towns in Red America -- and if any right-wingers have a problem with this, they've been awfully quiet about it.

Moral: You're in a glass house, righties, so maybe you ought to put down that stone.

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