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Mears: Proposed gun ownership bill threatens individual rights

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 00:12

Provided by Morgan Mears

Provided by Morgan Mears

Guns and the right to own guns has been a heated topic for debate recently in the state of Vermont. State Rep. Fred Maslack has proposed a new bill that would require “non-gun owning” citizens of Vermont to register and pay a $500 fee to the state, for not owning a gun.

Many people are irate about the proposed bill, accusing Maslack of trying to interfere with their right to bear arms, as stated by the second amendment in the Bill of Rights. The second amendment states that citizens of the United States have the right-choice-to bear arms, meaning if a citizen does not want to own a gun, then they are not required to own one. With Maslack’s new bill, a person’s rights would be taken away; a government does not have the right to take away what our forefathers gave us.

Many supporters of the bill argue that it is not only our right to bear arms but our obligation to own a gun and protect yourself and your fellow man. According to a comment made on a blog about the bill on HubPages, user Daniel Townsend wrote “when the government, or criminals, or a foreign power chooses to take that which does not belong to them, then the common man should have means to defend himself.”

However, Mr. Townsend does not acknowledge the fact that the government is already trying to take away something that does not belong to them, the right to choose to own a gun or not.

Vermont’s own constitution states explicitly that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State,” meaning that citizens in Vermont have the right to decide based on their personal beliefs and preferences if they want to own a gun or not, and they should not be fined for owning or not owning a gun.

Requiring non-gun owners to pay a $500 fee and registering as a non-gun owner would increase the number of guns purchased, and it would highly weigh on people’s decisions on whether or not to buy a gun.

While Vermont’s crime rate is low, requiring people to pay a fine for not owning a gun would increase the crime rate; people would rather own a gun than pay the fine, and not every citizen of Vermont is a trusting, upstanding person. Maslack’s bill fails to identify that.

Requiring everyone to own a gun or pay a fine would increase the number of guns in the state. The state of Vermont is one of few states that does not require registration or a license to own a handgun or a shotgun, and while there are upstanding citizens that can be trusted with a gun, there are also those that should not own a gun because of the things they may do with one, from robbing a store or a bank to murder. Maslack believes that all Vermont citizens are trusting, and therefore his bill is lacking in that sense as well.

This bill should not be passed. Requiring Vermont citizens to register and pay a fine for not owning a gun not only goes against the second amendment, but it also fails to identify that not all people are trusting and safe when it comes to gun use.

As an alternative, the state of Vermont should inform their citizens of the benefits of owning a gun rather than fining them for not; they should educate rather than punish.

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Wed Dec 5 2012 13:58
Fred Maslack is not a member of the Vermont legislature; go to the state website to confirm this. Morgan, the story about requiring non-gun owners to be registered and to pay a fee was a rumor, that was circulated back in the Fall of 2009. I tried to send a comment with URL links to prove both of these facts, but apparently it was rejected as spam, unless someone didn't like the truth and deleted my comment. As Lucy of the "Peanuts" comic strip would say after flooring Charlie Brown - "I had to hit him quick; he was beginning to make sense".
Tue Dec 4 2012 12:36
Well, well, well. Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now, huh??? Forcing someone to purchase a product and then fine them if they don't purchase it, actually originated with the Obama administration under Nancy Pelosi and Harry reid along with Obama. Sound familiar??? Obamacare. The reason so many conservatives opposed Obamacare is not because it was "healthcare", but because it opens an entire new can of worms to where the govt will begin requiring people to buy something or be fined. Now, the Supreme Court has upheld such crappy schemes. And people were mediafied to vote for it. Get ready to live in a bankrupt society. Pretty soon, so many poor people who can't afford guns will be able to get govt welfare for gun purchase with those $500 fines from people who can afford it. This paper will never learn the schemes from govt.
Tue Dec 4 2012 11:50
This bill is clearly a tongue-in-cheek stab at the insurance requirements in Obamacare. That the author treats it as a serious effort does not speak well for her reasoning abilities.
Tue Dec 4 2012 10:57
I like it, if you choose to encourage crime by providing yourself as a helpless victim you should have to help defray the costs. It should be levied on each individual adult as well, not by household.
Ken Spurgeon
Tue Dec 4 2012 10:35
Error in my statement: The Constitution only guarantees that government will "not" infringe upon that right.
Ken Spurgeon
Tue Dec 4 2012 10:30
I did not read the entire article because when the writer wrote that the Founding Fathers gave us the right to bear arms I knew she was ignorant on the subject. The right to bear arms is an inalienable right, given by the Creator and the Constitution only guarantees that government will in infringe upon that right. Government does not grant rights, it only takes rights away from us. Also, the demand to own a firearm or pay a fee is modeled upon the government demand to buy health insurance or pay a fee, which has been deemed to be Constitutional. Therefore the law is perfectly reasonable, by Supreme Court standards.

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