Can you imagine? Lawmakers insisting that citizens own a gun or buy one if they don't already own one -- under penalty of law, no less! Government can't force people to buy something they don't want, can it?
OK, you get it. So do the South Dakota lawmakers. According to State Rep. Hal Wick, one of the bill's five sponsors, "Do I or the other co-sponsors believe that the state of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance."
Just between us, I never associated South Dakota with funny. New York and funny? Sure. L.A., funny. Yeah. But live and learn. This guy Hal Wick from the frozen plains is a regular riot. And smart, too.
Frankly, I think it would be great if everybody owned health insurance. But there's that pesky matter of the Constitution. If the federal government can force Americans to buy an insurance policy, why can't it force them to buy a health club membership? If we all went to the gym, we would be healthier -- and healthy people spend less money on doctors, right?
And why stop there? How about a law that would require all Americans to eat three servings of fruits and vegetables every day? A good diet is good for our health -- and as the old saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." That, too, would bring down our out-of-control health care costs.
And why couldn't the federal government make all Americans buy pogo sticks and hop around on them at least an hour a day. You don't see a lot of out-of-shape fatsos jumping around on a pogo stick, do you? One more way to reduce health care costs that are devouring way too much of our spending.
A few days ago, a federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that last year's health care reform law, known in some circles as Obamacare, was unconstitutional. Judge Roger Vinson wrote a long, thoughtful decision, but it pretty much came down to this: The federal government does not have unlimited powers. It cannot mandate that all Americans buy an insurance policy -- and then punish them if they don't.
How do you feel about that South Dakota bill that would make it mandatory to own a gun?
I thought so.