Under a new bill introduced into the South Dakota Legislature, all state residents age 21 and older would be mandated to own a firearm as of January 1, 2012.
If that edict sounds a bit draconian for your tastes, don’t worry you’re in company. The bill’s chief sponsor, Hal Wick of Sioux Falls, himself says the measure has no chance of passing nor would he want it to.
Representative Wick said he drafted the bill to make a point about last year’s federal health-care law, which will start to go into effect throughout 2011. Wick told us “The idea behind the bill is… [a] response to the federal health-care bill. To be honest with you, it won’t pass. It’s unconstitutional.”
The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm. It also doesn’t specify what type of firearm only that it be one that is “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.”
Three representatives, Rep. Thomas Brunner, of Nisland, and Rep. Brock Greenfield, of Clark, and Wick, and two senators, Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, of Rapid City, and Sen. Tim Begalka, of Clear Lake, have put their signature on House Bill 1237. The bill is trenchantly entitled “An Act to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.”
Understandably, the bill has generated a lot of buzz inside and outside of South Dakota. Reminiscent of Kennesaw, Georgia—the self proclaimed Gun Town, USA which saw drops in crime when all residents were required by law to own guns—perhaps Representative Wick and friends will get more than they bargained for with their symbolic jab at the federal government. Unless there’s something about it in the South Dakota Constitution, what would make it unconstitutional?