Everyone is all excited because some South Dakota legislators have proposed a mandate requiring each citizen to own a gun (h/t reader Brian):

Five South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require any adult 21 or older to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.”

The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would give people six months to acquire a firearm after turning 21. The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm.

Nor does the measure specify what type of firearm. Instead, residents would pick one “suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and preference.”

The measure is known as an act “to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.”

They have left out one thing, which was proposed here by a reader 10 months ago, a Guns and Tobacco Mandate:

Mandate that all US citizens must annually purchase one handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

While we’re at it, everyone should be required to purchase 2 packs of cigarettes a week. Smoking them, of course, will be illegal.

The Guns & Tobacco proposal was subjected to a constitutional analysis here using the approach of Obamacare supporters to court challenges to thehealth care mandate, with the conclusion that if the Obamacare supporters were right, the Guns & Tobacco Mandate was constitutional:

Under the legal reasoning of the supporters of the health care mandate, I believe the Guns & Tobacco Mandate would pass constitutional muster.

The right to keep and bear arms specifically is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Since firearms are manufactured using metals and other materials shipped in interstate commerce, and are shipped across state lines, the federal government has a legitimate interest in regulating such activities, consistent with the Second Amendment. The mandated purchase of firearms would help maintain a well-functioning national weapons manufacturing and sales market, and thereby would further a legitimate governmental purpose.

As to tobacco, the fertilizer used to grow the tobacco is shipped in interstate commerce, as are the leaves for processing and manufactured end product. The ban on smoking the product once purchased also would be constitutional, since smoking contributes to health care costs which are assumed or subsidized by the federal government. Since heavy taxes are levied on tobacco, including taxes used to fund health care services, the government has a legitimate purpose in maintaining a steady flow of purchases and making sure the cancer sticks were not smoked.

Although not stated in [the reader’s] proposal, I believe it is implicit that in the event a citizen or alien lawfully present in the United States failed to make such purchases, there would be a tax imposed based upon how evil the person was, as expressed numerically by his or her adjusted gross income.

Hence, the Guns & Tobacco Mandate really is just a tax, so it’s all good.

Fortunately, based on Judge Vinson’s ruling yesterday, the Obamacare supporters are not right; so mandating the purchase of health insurance, guns or tobacco remains beyond the power of the federal government.  For now.

But the states, on the other hand….

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