Don't Own A Gun? That'll Be $500, Please!
Pass or Fail in Vermont?
Perhaps my attitude on gun control – or lack thereof – is due to the fact that I’m a resident of Texas and the majority of us are pro-gun. Particularly in rural Texas, guns are a fact of life from the time one leaves the cradle and remains so our entire lives. Oh yes, we have the folks that don’t like guns and raise more fuss about it than the law should allow but for the most part gun-owners sort of smile, shoot the bird – and keep on shooting flying birds, deer, varmints and burglars.
Recently State Rep. Fred Maslack from Vermont has come forward with a bill and although it may not make it into law; it's great fodder for thought. It’s also amusing as hell when one considers the hue and cry the gun control folks will raise if/when it’s seriously considered.
Seems Maslack has done in-depth studies of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the State of Vermont’s Constitution and his conclusions have a lot of folks talking -- not only in Vermont but lots of other places. Maslack is obviously serious about his study as he recently proposed a bill in Vermont that would require "non-gun-owners" to register and pay a $500 fee to the State of Vermont for NOT owning a gun!
Now if this never went any farther; that’s amusing in and of itself. Ah, but it does go farther! Maslack reads the "militia" phrase of the Second Amendment as not only affirming the rights of citizens to bear arms but as a mandate to bear arms and thinks universal gun ownership was advocated by the Constitution guys to prevent "monopoly of force" not only by criminals but also by the government. It’s kinda hard not to consider that a certified hoot – particularly in view of what’s been happening in this country recently?
Vermont’s Constitution gets explicit: They give their citizens the right to carry concealed guns – without a permit – and describe that situation as "the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State." It goes on – and those persons who are "conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms" shall be required to "pay such equivalent." Therefore – Maslack says Vermonters have a constitutional obligation to arm themselves, so that they are capable of responding to "any situation that may arise" where force is necessary to protect the State of Vermont.
Play or Pay?
He also advocates (and it’s in his bill) that adults who choose not to own a firearm would be required to register their name, address, Social Security Number and driver’s license number with the State. "There is a legitimate government interest in knowing WHO IS NOT prepared to defend the State should they be asked to do so." Well, dear hearts, think about it! There’s gonna be some defenders and the rest will be "defendees" meaning they ain’t gonna do one damn thing if the State is threatened except get out there and hunt up someone WITH a gun to defend them!
Bottom line: Mr. Maslack is trying to pass a bill that will assess a fee of $500 for the privilege of NOT owning a gun ‘cause everybody else that DOES OWN A GUN has to take care of their unarmed little butts! Now, in Texas that bill might ride on through like a big dog – mostly because it would keep non-armed persons from aggravating the hell out of everyone that is armed ‘cause none of them would admit to not owning a gun as it would cost them money.
Whether it can scoot through in Vermont is anyone’s guess but Vermont is pretty serious about their gun laws and right to carry and might just be the first state to turn such a bill into a law. Vermont boasts a high rate of gun ownership and has the least restrictive laws of any state in the Union.
The whole thing absolutely makes sense. There’s no reason gun owners should have to pay taxes to support police protection for people not willing to own guns and take care of themselves and their families – so, let them pay their fair share and pay their own way!
One last interesting fact: In Vermont the combination of plenty of guns and few laws regulating them has resulted in them having the third lowest crime rate in the nation! Sittin’ here in the Lone Star State – gun advocates that we are – all I can say is "Hey, Vermont! Y’all go ahead on now, ya’ hear?" If it works for Vermont maybe Governor Good Hair of Texas will take it into consideration? Well, maybe not – it wouldn’t produce much revenue in Texas for obvious reasons!
Author's Note: Today is June 28, 2012 and in the comments below we've been advised that the Supreme Court has declared this law to be legal and it is now law in Vermont.
Copyright 2012 Angela T. Blair -- All Rights Reserved