O.K., now the yahoos are just teasing me. Representatives Wick, Brunner, and Greenfield and Senators Rampleberg and Begalka have introduced HB 1237, a measure requiring every South Dakotan over 21 to purchase or otherwise acquire a firearm for self-defense.
They can't be serious. These are the same guys who tell me the government can't require us to buy health insurance. Does HB 1237 signal that they are conceding that argument? Darn shame if they are, since that might be the only workable Constitutional argument they have left against Obamacare.
But I'll take that concession and let them float this bill. I don't need the Constitution to argue that HB 1237 is just nuts. Mandatory health insurance will have more tangible positive effect than mandatory gun ownership. Mandatory health insurance also includes subsidies for lower-income folks. Will Rep. Wick open up the state coffers to help low-income folks buy workable firearms? The poor deserve protection too, don't they? Putting a gun in every adult's pocket is a lot more likely to lead to accidental injuries and deaths than putting an insurance card in everyone's pocket.
A gun is a nearly obsolete tool in everyday modern life. It doesn't get you medical care or help you keep your job. It doesn't boost your retirement account. It doesn't educate your kids. It doesn't balance the state budget or pave roads. It doesn't check abuses of government power in a society ruled by money and information rather than brute force.
And a gun in my hand would not help me persuade these legislators that HB 1237 is a waste of time. The legislators floating this bill are either yanking our chain or spending too much time watching old John Wayne movies. But thank you, gentlemen, for providing us a good laugh... on the taxpayers' dime.