Own a gun or go to jail?

South Dakota politicians introduce tongue-in-cheek legislation saying residents would have to buy firearms by mid-2012.

By Kim Peterson Feb 1, 2011 1:32PM
Credit: (©Leander Baerenz/Getty Images)
Caption: Men playing with gunsFive lawmakers in South Dakota are pushing legislation that would require adults in the state to buy a gun starting in 2012.

This is great news for gun makers like Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm Ruger (RGR), both of which have seen shares fall since early December. The bill doesn't say what kind of gun people would be required to buy. It suggests only that residents look for something "suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and personal preference."

There's no chance of this proposal actually becoming law. And the politicians who introduced the bill know it. But they're trying to make a point by comparing the bill to . . . federal health care reform?

"Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not," one of the bill's sponsors, a Republican from Sioux Falls, told the Argus Leader. "But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance."

Post continues after video:
It's unclear how far state lawmakers are going to push the bill to make their case. But South Dakota residents are slamming the idea in the Argus Leader's comment board. "I am thankful that one of my legislators isn't on this list of sponsors, all of whom qualify for 'Idiot of the Week' with this moronic measure," one reader wrote.

Setting aside the intended seriousness (or lack thereof) of this bill, I'm not sure this is the best way to prove the point. South Dakota has also made auto insurance mandatory. Wouldn't a more relevant statement be to lift the auto insurance requirement?

By the way, here's the full text of the bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.
    Section 1. Not later than January 1, 2012, each citizen residing in the state of South Dakota who has attained the age of twenty-one years shall purchase or otherwise acquire a firearm suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and personal preference sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.
    Section 2. After January 1, 2012, each citizen residing in the state of South Dakota shall comply with the provisions of this Act within six months of attaining the age of twenty-one years.
    Section 3. The provisions of this Act do not apply to any person who is disqualified from possessing a firearm pursuant to §§ 22-14-15, 22-14-15.1, or 22-14-15.2.

Feb 1, 2011 3:41PM

This was a very clever idea on the part of these lawmakers.  I think it's great that they're illustrating how completely ridiculous the individual mandate of Obamacare is.


Of course the liberals will be quick to bash these lawmakers and downplay their statement.  Liberals tend to not like having the lunacy of their ideas made obvious.  They prefer to bury any dissent or free thought that disagrees with their dogmatic ideology.  

Feb 1, 2011 3:47PM

There was a time (when we were protected be militias) when every able-bodied man was required be law to keep arms in  his home. America had just been in a war for our independence--a war against our former government. The second amendment to the constitution was added to the constitution to ensure that the American people would have the means to defend themselves in the event that our new government ever got too big for its' britches. The militia was our last line of defense against tyranny. Some would have you believe that it has something to do with hunting and that a single-shot small caliber rifle should be all we should be allowed. The second amendment refers to the weapons of war--whatever we may need to keep this country free--free from tyranny and oppression. Now, we have people clamoring for more government control of our right to bear arms--which the govenment is only too happy to do. Be carefull what you ask for. You just might get it.

Feb 1, 2011 3:35PM
And who's clever idea was it to include that ridiculous IRRESPONSIBLE photo with the story? Just about everyone I know own a gun, and I have yet to see any of us standing around downtown pointing or shooting them at the sky. Morons.
Feb 1, 2011 4:00PM

Some of you don't get it.  It's not about gun ownership although that was a brilliant move to draw correlation.  Maybe all the idiots supporting this health care law and its unconstitutional mandate forcing me to buy insurance against my will to help pay for the millions of new "insured" that can't affort to pay it themselves will be able to draw the correlation between forced gun ownership and forced medical insurance ownership.


And I will get this out of the way now.  Blah blah, forced car insurance, blah blah blah.  Two things to note.  One, I'm not forced to buy car insurance against my will.  If I don't own car insurance, they won't punish me on my taxes (well, they got to get that money for health care coverage somehow, steal it one way or another).  "But, but, how will you drive.  Your breaking the law!!"  Not really.  I can walk, bike, car pool, call a cab, etc.  Which leads to my second point.  Some of you need to learn the damn difference between rights and priviledges.  Owning a car and driving it is a priviledge, not a right.  A priviledge I pay alot of money for.  So you can stop with the tired car insurance arguement.

Feb 1, 2011 3:36PM
How about instead of saying "we are going to make the health care law go away" they try coming up with a viable alternative?  It's easy to say that someone else's ideas are wrong or bad but much more difficult to find a real solution.
Feb 1, 2011 11:20PM
45899     "

It is a myth that guns will stop violence, over 80% of gun owners that have been victims of gun violence have had their own guns used against them.  10% percent of gun owners have family member accidently shoot themselves or friends because of improper safety. 


This is the biggest crock of s*** I have ever heard from one of you anti gun idiots. I would like to know where you got this farce of stats. I know at least 500 gun owners and only know of 2 accidents. Just in case you cant handle basic math, that is .04% NOT 10%. As for your other stupid stat, it might be .O8 % IF THAT MUCH. I would like to see the criminal that thinks he can take my gun away and use it on me. IT WON"T HAPPEN. He will have some 40 cal lead poisoning first. This might happen to someone who doesn't khow how to fire their gun and tries to use it as a club or gets so scared they can't find the safety. It is brainless idiots like you that are a large part of the problem with gun laws.

Feb 1, 2011 9:10PM
I guess the next great Obama idea, in an effort to reform homelessness, will be to require all homeless persons in the U.S. to obtain housing by 2014 or face jail time or fines.
Feb 1, 2011 8:01PM
Many of you may not realize this, but in countries like Sweden that have a very low crime rate, people are required by law to own a gun and take the proper handling courses.  Honestly, are you really going to want to break into someone's house knowing that that person has a gun and is fully trained in how to use it?
Feb 1, 2011 7:03PM

This works in Switzerland.  Every residence must have a registered firearm.  They have one of the lowest home invasion and burglary rates in the civilized world.

Feb 1, 2011 3:57PM
A fun way to make a point but i see the idiots are trying to take it the wrong way.
Feb 1, 2011 10:30PM
Okay, nobody has to buy health insurance.  Also hospitals, clinics and doctors don't have to treat you if you can't pay for the treatment.  Sounds fair, right?  None of my taxes have to go to pay for medicaid or any other program where people can't pay for medical treatment.  If they're in this country illegally and they become sick or injured, throw them back in the river.  If you don't want to buy health insurance, don't expect me to pay your' bill.  Problem solved.
Feb 1, 2011 4:14PM

Yes. Go South Dakota!


No. The healthcare bill is not like car insurance. You see, driving is a privilege, not a right. It is assigned to drivers by the State in which the car is registered. So, what would my professor of Logic and Modern Rhetoric have to say on the subject?


Invalid anology!Lightning

Feb 1, 2011 7:06PM
It is amazing what would happen if everyone had a gun and knew how to use it. Number one-our government would never be like the past governments in the world history if all citizens were armed, the local thugs would be put in their place, and what happened in Arizona would have been a lot less tragic if ten citizens had started firing at the idiot who was shooting and the people of Arizona would not have to feed and house the idiot for many years while the legal system did its thing.
Feb 1, 2011 7:42PM
I already carry a gun, anyone who thinks they can commit mass murder if i'm there is gonna be sorry when i start shooting back
Feb 1, 2011 7:15PM

One person asked, "States require one to buy auto insurance, so what's the difference in requiring the purchase of a firearm?"  He's in error.  One is not compelled to purchase auto insurance if one doesn't drive on the public roads.


Folks who don't own cars don't have to purchase auto insurance.  Nor do those who drive motor vehicles only on their own property.  For example,  ranchers whose vehicles never leave their own property aren't compelled to buy insurance to drive their vehicles.


That said, I think it's a great idea that everyone own a gun, it'll knock down the crime rate and save taxpayers money from paying for unnecessary police


Yes, I own a gun regardless I don't live in S. Dakota.

Feb 1, 2011 4:26PM
The Obamacare health insurance mandate is NOT the same as requiring auto insurance!

Requiring auto insurance, more precisely providing proof of financial responsibility, as a condition of exercising the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on public roads is a STATE requirement, not a FEDERAL requirement.  Moreover, as far as I know, the financial responsibility only extends to liability for damage or injury to the other party in an accident.

You are not obligated to operate a motor vehicle on public roads.  However, if you do CHOOSE to operate a motor vehicle on a particular state's public roads, that state can impose certain requirements, including licensing the operator and requiring that the operator demonstrate that he/she can pay for damage or injury to others if he/she is involved in a collision while operating that motor vehicle.  The federal government's sole involvement in this process is to require that each state honor each other state's operator licensing and financial responsibility requirements, so that you don't have to have a different operator's license and proof of financial responsibility for every state in which you travel.

As for the South Dakota legislation, if you are taking it completely at face value you are missing the point.  It isn't about having every South Dakota resident armed, it's about pointing out the absurdity of a government, state or federal, mandating that a citizen be REQUIRED TO PURCHASE SOMETHING AS A CONDITION OF BEING A CITIZEN!

My US$0.02.  YMMV.

Feb 1, 2011 4:47PM

might not be a bad idea IF the proper background checks are made in EVERY case.


take a look at the crime stats in kennesaw, ga. where gun ownership is mandatory for everyone over the age of 21. crime stats dropped almost to zero. not to say that concealed carry permits should be given haphazardly, but if the bad guys know there is a firearm in the house they would most likely look elsewhere.

just look at the stats, they speak for themselves.

Feb 1, 2011 7:22PM
@Liberal agitator - Actually, you're wrong. You're not entitled to health care if you come in off the street. You're only entitled to EMERGENCY CARE. There's a big difference. Next time you're near an emergency room, stop in and tell them you're there to get your free cancer screening and let me know how that goes for ya.
Feb 1, 2011 7:59PM
The difference between the obligation to buy car insurance and the obligation to buy health insurance is in who is requiring you to do it.  The STATES can require things like this.  The FEDERAL government can only do what the US Constitution allows them to.  Any power that is not specifically covered by the constitution is left to the individual states to decide.  So anyone whose argument is that since you have to have car insurance if you want to drive a car, so it's ok for the Fed. Gov to make you buy health care insurance, is not a valid argument.
Feb 1, 2011 3:57PM
I think this will be a great law. How will the liberal's oppose it's implementation?
Will they say the state cannot force every citizen to buy a product? (Note: Auto Insurance is not required of every citizen.)
The Federal Judge yesterday laid out that exact point. If Obamascare can force you to buy a product, then where is the limit to what Gov't could force you to buy?
The best part is that they did not include a severability clause in the healthscare law. So now that part of it is Unconstitutional, the whole thing is invalid.
Even if they had made it clear that all the parts are independent, you can't make it work without the individual mandate.
But if you think it's such a great idea, let's expand it to home and auto insurance. Then you won't have to get it until after you have a fire or a wreck. That would work, Right?

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