Published February 01, 2011
A group of South Dakota lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require almost everyone in their state to buy a gun once they turn 21.
Turns out it's not a serious attempt. Rather, the lawmakers are trying to make a point about the new health care law -- that an individual mandate is unconstitutional, whether it requires everyone to buy health insurance or, in South Dakota's case, a firearm.
Rep. Hal Wick, one of five co-sponsors, told The Argus Leader newspaper that he expects the bill to fail.
"Do I or the other co-sponsors 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.
The South Dakota proposal would require anyone over 21 to purchase a firearm by Jan. 1, 2012, provided they are not legally disqualified from owning one. It would extend a six-month grace period for residents who turn 21 after the beginning of 2012.
"Each citizen residing in the state of South Dakota who has attained the age of 21 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," the bill states.
The proposal comes as a federal judge in Florida rules that the individual mandate in the health care law is unconstitutional. Judge Roger Vinson ruled Monday that the entire law, as a result, should be declared void.
The opinion is the latest in a string of conflicting rulings which, once resolved, will determine whether the Obama administration can, in fact, force people to buy health insurance. Many expect the Supreme Court to decide the case.