South Dakota Lawmakers Propose Individual Mandate To Require Gun Ownership

State lawmakers in South Dakota have introduced legislation that would require all residents aged 21 and over to purchase a firearm beginning in 2012.

The bill is reportedly meant as a quixotic attempt to protest the reach of the health insurance mandate set to be implemented by President Obama's health care reform, ruled unconstitutional by a Florida judge on Monday.

State Rep. Hal Wick (R), one of the bill's sponsors, recently explained the objective of the legislative demonstration taken on by him and four other lawmakers.

"Do I or the other cosponsors 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," Wick told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Despite the purely idealistic nature of the proposal, it seems perhaps particularly strange in the state of South Dakota, where legal immigrants have been barred from accessing concealed weapons permits since 2002, when the legislature changed the law following the attacks on 9/11. A measure is now in the works to return those firearms rights to legal immigrants.