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February 01, 2011

Awesome: Legislator Introduces Bill To Compel All Citizens To Purchase a Gun for Self-Defense

Last night Ann Coulter played law professor and asked, if the government can compel people to buy health insurance, may they also be compelled to buy a Bible or a gun? (Video at end of post.)

I liked that so much that I hoped that someone would actually introduce a bill compelling just that, to prove the point. It's not federal, which would prove the point a little better as it's more directly analogous, but a legislator in South Dakota has decided to employ the Socratic Method in proposed legislation.

This is a classic sort of argument, and it's classic for a reason; take your opponents' claim of general principle and begin applying it generally to see what they think of it. If the principle seems ridiculous in most contexts, chances are, it's just as ridiculous in the context they initially proposed it.

Now: On to the Federal Affordable Bible and Soul Protection Act of 2011. I'm pretty certain we can find some study out there demonstrating that Bible-owners are generally healthier than non-Bible-Owners. If there's any correlation between Bible ownership and better health outcomes, I say I will not rest until I ensure that every American is as healthy as I can compel him to be.

Actually... I wrote about this as if it's just a funny way to argue the point. It's more than that; if the Supreme Court blesses this new federal power to order people to buy whatever the current administration deems proper, they should be on notice as to what other wonderful things we'll use this power for.

Not Such a Good Demonstration: Gabriel doubts the utility of this investigation, noting:

1. A state often has greater powers over its citizens than the federal government does (the federal government not having the police power that states do, for one). So this law probably is constitutional as a state law, which sort of makes it less than perfect for purposes of illustrating this complaint.

2. With guns, the federal government actually could mandate that all able bodied citizens own a gun, as is the case in Switzerland. The Constitution has a Militia Cause granting such power; the 1792 Militia Act effected similar compulsions and no one seemed to think that was unconstitutional.

Yeah, he's right... The basic idea is good but the good demonstration model must involve the federal government and must involve an area where the Constitution doesn't even hint of special power.

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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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