What if Guns Were Mandatory
Many of us see gun ownership as a rite of passage and a civic duty. When I turned six, I was given my first rifle and taught by my grandfather, a career military man, to shoot it properly. When I turned 15, I was given my first handgun. Firearm ownership is one of the inalienable rights guaranteed to citizens under the Bill of Rights. Some think it's such an important right that it should be mandatory.
Its already happened here before
(The town militia for over two hundred years was the standard law enforcement and military force in colonial America)
Mandatory gun ownership, where every able bodied, law abiding citizen who is not conscientiously opposed to the notion, is required to have a firearm, is not strange to this country. The militia act of 16th century England came to this country with the colonists and between 1630-1792 all males from 18-45 were required to be both have their own arms and to be a member of the local town militia. Those who had no money to buy arms were provided them by the town. This framework was preserved in the Constitution but was not made mandatory.
In fact, there is at least one city that still practices it and one state that wants to
In 1982, the small town of Kennesaw, just outside of the growing metropolis of Atlanta passed a city ordinance (Sec 34-21) that says:
"(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore."
To put it country simple, if you live there then you had to have a gun and bullets. Of course, section (b) of this same ordinance exempted anyone who had a 'physical or mental disability', 'paupers, or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.'
In a 2001 article, then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, everyone "went crazy. "People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes," he said. "Of course, that wasn't the case."
In the past thirty years, crime decreased more than 50% per capita while the population of the city grew from 5200 to almost 30,000. Today the median household income for the city is now $61,355 and in 2007, the city was selected by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation's "10 best towns for families." The law still stands and it's a $100 fine if you violate it.
(In Switzerland, gun ownership is not only mandatory but government issue. Each member of the civilian population that is drafted into the Swiss Army as a reservist keeps their rifle at home. Here are two young girls on the way to the local range for semi-annual practise. After you serve you can buy your rifle for a low cost to and keep it. Switzerland has both one of the highest rates of private gun ownership and lowest crime rates in the world. They also haven't been invaded in about 200years. An armed society is a polite society.)
Vermont as you remember from your history books, one of the 13 original colonies and they take that whole 2nd Amendment thing pretty serious up there. It's the only state that has an open law where no permit is required for a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed firearm. This may be one of the big reasons that its crime rate is the third lowest in the nation. Recently a bill has being introduced by a Vermont state representative that would require all state residents to maintain a firearm as part of the state's unorganized militia. For those who would like to opt out of the plan, you can but you have to register as a non-gun owner and pay a fee of up to $500 to offset the cost of having others defend you.
We'd like to see it pass, but we aren't holding our breath.
If the government can make health insurance mandatory nationwide, why not gun ownership?