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Old July 26, 2011, 04:53 PM   #1
RedNeckWino
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Vermont bill proposed for NON-gun-owners

Vermont State Rep. Fred Maslack has read the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Vermont's own Constitution very carefully, and his strict interpretation of these documents is popping some eyeballs in New England and elsewhere.

Maslack recently proposed a bill to register "non-gun-owners"and require them to pay a $500 fee to the state. Thus Vermont would become the first state to require a permit for the luxury of going about unarmed and assess a fee of $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun.

Maslack read the "militia" phrase of the Second Amendment as not only the right of the individual citizen to bear arms, but as a clear mandate to do so. He believes that universal gun ownership was advocated by the Framers of the Constitution as an antidote to a "monopoly of force" by the government as well as criminals.Vermont's constitution states explicitly that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State" and those persons who are "conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms" shall be required to "pay such equivalent.."

Clearly, says Maslack, Vermonters have a constitutional obligation to arm themselves, so that they are capable of responding to "any situation that may arise."

Under the bill, 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," Maslack says.

Vermont already boasts a high rate of gun ownership along with the least restrictive laws of any state .... it's currently the only state that allows a citizen to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. This combination of plenty of guns and few laws regulating them has resulted in a crime rate that is the third lowest in the nation.

This makes sense! There is no reason why gun owners should have to pay taxes to support police protection for people not wanting to own guns. Let them contribute their fair share and pay their own way.
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Old July 26, 2011, 05:07 PM   #2
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Alaska allows concealed carry without a permit too. I thought there was a third state also...
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Old July 26, 2011, 05:43 PM   #3
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Why can't Illinois be like Vermont? They still have BALLS in Vermont....and yummy cheddar cheese from what I hear.
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Old July 26, 2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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Hmm I may have to move to Vermont...
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Old July 26, 2011, 05:58 PM   #5
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I view this in terms of economic externalities.

An externality is whenever an entity either pays an economic cost without an equal economic benefit or receives a benefit without paying the cost.

For a long time smoking tobaco was like this. The cost to society of smoking was more than what smokers actually paid. Now with cigs going for $5.00 a pack - that's probably changed.

Another example of this is vaccinations. If the parents of 28 kids in a class get their kids innoculated / vaccinated but the parents of 2 of the children do not - the parents of the two children sort of get a free ride. Because the other 28 got vaccinated, the odds that the 2 kids will come down sick are greatly decreased - but theypaid nothing for that benefit.

If Dr Gary Kleck is correct and and an armed citizenry decreases crime, then the few people who have spent $1,000 - $2,000 on firearms, equipment, ammunition, training and practice - are making it safer for all members of the community. But some members are taking a free ride. They don't pay the money for a firearm, for a holster, for ammunition etc... they just enjoy the benefits of a safer society for free.

Government in many cases has taken action to correct economic externalities - such as with smoking. It makes sense to me that if people aren't going to fully participate in bringing about the benefits that accrue to them, then they should pay for those benefits somehow.
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Old July 26, 2011, 06:08 PM   #6
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Doesn't seem to have gotten very far since it was proposed in 2009. Maslack appears to no longer be in the legislature.

In my opinion though, registering and taxing non-gun owners is no different than registering and taxing gun owners.
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Old July 26, 2011, 06:14 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedNeckWino
Under the bill, 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," Maslack says.
Interesting counterpoint to my local police department, who think there is a legitimate government interest in keeping track of who DOES own guns. If I had any faith at all that they just wanted to know who to call up first in time of emergency, I'd be okay with that. However, considering the area's liberal leanings, I'm much more inclined to think they want to know where to go first when the confiscations begin.
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Old July 26, 2011, 06:53 PM   #8
Bernie Lomax
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Alaska allows concealed carry without a permit too. I thought there was a third state also...

There's four of 'em now. The other two are Arizona and Wyoming.
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Old July 26, 2011, 06:53 PM   #9
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I have a similar concern. Whether there's a fee attached to gun ownership or to non-ownership, the State wants a way to track who pays and who doesn't. Either way, it works out so that the State still knows who has guns and who doesn't.
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Old July 26, 2011, 07:30 PM   #10
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The bill certainly would never have passed constitutional muster; however, it's a humorous way of calling attention to the idiotic laws so many states impose to regulate, restrain and discourage gun owners.
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Old July 26, 2011, 08:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmsss
The bill certainly would never have passed constitutional muster; however, it's a humorous way of calling attention to the idiotic laws so many states impose to regulate, restrain and discourage gun owners.
That's what I thought, too. The Representative couldn't have been serious here. He was definitely using some sarcasm and humor - albeit pointed humor - to make a point about gun control laws.
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Old July 26, 2011, 09:20 PM   #12
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Just remember Kennasaw Ga.and it's law requiring all household to be armed
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Old July 26, 2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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How many households were forced to buy guns in Kennesaw?
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Old July 27, 2011, 09:04 AM   #14
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Don H. (Post #6), That is exactly what I thought when I read the first post.

You do not have an actual registry of gun owners, but by not being included on the list, you are acknowledging you have a gun.

But I like the idea.
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Old July 27, 2011, 09:37 AM   #15
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I'm not sure how I get how this means a mandate to bear arms:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

With all of the "why is the government trying to make me do things or cause me to pay for things that I don't need/want" rhethoric doesn't this fall directly into that category? Don't get me wrong, I love guns and support the 2nd amendment, but I don't see a "right" as a "mandate".

But then living in Texas you don't register a gun anyway. I'd hate to think I'd be on a list of folks without a gun for home defense. Wouldn't that make for a decent "please come rob this person" list? Page one in the home invader's handbook?

I also don't feel like I pay for the police just to protect me. It's like paying school taxes. If you don't have a good school system, the neighborhood is likely to go to pot, and then your crime is going to go up. Kids or not, taxes to help schools helps the community at large. Same with police. Even if they never show up at my house to protect me, the fact that they're out there helps the community at large.
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Old July 27, 2011, 10:00 AM   #16
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I'd say if the states can charge for administering CCW permits, they can equitably levy a charge for not owning a gun. I don't think either is constitutional, however, and eventually this will be borne out in litigation.
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Old July 27, 2011, 10:10 AM   #17
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Just another lawmaker wasting time with political posturing instead of doing the people's business.
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Old July 27, 2011, 12:59 PM   #18
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The Swiss are required to be part of the milita, and are supplied with a weapon that they must keep at home should they be called on.

If you look at the wording of the Vermont constitution, you will see the same idea (I am not talking about the US 2A, just Vermont). I do believe it could have been done, just like when we had the draft and there were "objectors" that would not support the country by service in the military.

Historically (late 1700's early 1800's), here in the US, if you did not have an arm that could be used in defence of the state and the country, the government would "sell" you one (you paid them back) and it was to be kept for the defence of the state and the country.

This did not change until there started to be large urban centers in the NE in the 1800's

I think what this guy was saying is: it is like the draft, if you don't want to carry, and have reason, then you need to pay a penality.

BTW: A small village near where I live (Riverside, WA) also has a "must" own a firearm on their books...and it has no police force (they contract with the Sheriff) However, there is no penality if you decline to follow this ordinance.
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Old July 27, 2011, 01:17 PM   #19
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Old July 27, 2011, 04:42 PM   #20
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rj1972
I'm not sure how I get how this means a mandate to bear arms:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
By extension.

His argument is that all males are members of the militia. (Not strictly accurate, but accept that for the sake of following the argument.) The original laws describing the militia (and who was in the militia) required each member to provide his own firearm and a minimum quantity of ammunition (which in colonial times was powder and ball).

Thus (if I follow the argument), since the militia is necessary to the security of the state, and the right to keep and bear arms is related to serving in the militia, then since everyone is in the militia (technically incorrect) it follows that the militia requires everyone to be armed.

From the original, Federal Militia Act of 1792:

Quote:
The Militia Act of 1792, Passed May 8, 1792, providing federal standards for the organization of the Militia.

An ACT more effectually to provide for the National Defence, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.

I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.
Of course, the modern (current) version of the Militia Act no longer requires members to provide their own arms. It is now in the U.S. Code, Title 10.

Quote:
TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13

§ 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

§ 312. Militia duty: exemptions

(a) The following persons are exempt from militia duty:
(1) The Vice President.
(2) The judicial and executive officers of the United States, the several States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
(3) Members of the armed forces, except members who are not on active duty.
(4) Customhouse clerks.
(5) Persons employed by the United States in the transmission of mail.
(6) Workmen employed in armories, arsenals, and naval shipyards of the United States.
(7) Pilots on navigable waters.
(8) Mariners in the sea service of a citizen of, or a merchant in, the United States.
(b) A person who claims exemption because of religious belief is exempt from militia duty in a combatant capacity, if the conscientious holding of that belief is established under such regulations as the President may prescribe. However, such a person is not exempt from militia duty that the President determines to be noncombatant.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 27, 2011 at 04:49 PM.
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Old July 27, 2011, 05:14 PM   #21
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I don't think charging for CCW permits is Constitutional either.

Does that mean I think we should mandate gun ownership, which is in my opinion the same exact kind of intrusiveness and equally unconstitutional? No, and I think it's absurd this was taken seriously at all.

If a man is arrested without being read his rights, you don't remedy the problem by unlawfully searching the police officers' houses. You remedy it by making sure people are read their rights in the future.

It's a tired old saw, but two wrongs don't make a right.
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Old July 27, 2011, 05:32 PM   #22
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This is a novel idea, but it could be turned against you as well. The Constitution outlines what the government must do and what the people can do. When I read the Constitution, I did not see anything in the first 10 amendments telling me what I must do, only things I have the opportunity to do that the government may not take away. For example, we have freedom of religion as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. However, if I chose not to attend a church, am I going to get charged a $500 fee by the government? What initially seems to be a good policy may end up going places that we don't want.
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Old July 27, 2011, 06:36 PM   #23
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawScholar
I don't think charging for CCW permits is Constitutional either.
But it IS constitutional.

Are you really a law student? If so, you need to brush up on the meaning of "regulation." Where courts have ruled on the question, they have generally held that legislatures may "regulate" constitutionally-protected rights, but they cannot outright prohibit them.

How does this work in real life? Ohio is an excellent example. Until about four (?) years ago, Ohio did not allow concealed carry of firearms. Some Ohio resident decided to carry a sidearm openly. He was arrested for doing so. The Ohio Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Ohio's law violated Ohio's constitution, because the state's constitution guaranteed a right to bear arms. Thus (the court reasoned), if the legislature wished to prohibit the concealed carry of firearms, the only way citizens could avail themselves of the RIGHT to carry was to do so openly. Ergo: open carry was legal in Ohio.

This ruling led to a series of open carry days, whereupon the legislature had an epiphany and enacted legislation to make concealed carry permits available. Under such conditions, it is entirely constitutional to charge a fee for the concealed carry permit -- as long as there is available some alternate, no-fee avenue for "the People" to avail themselves of the right in question.
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Old July 27, 2011, 09:18 PM   #24
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Wow, Aguila, please, be more confrontational. Yep, I'm a law student, thanks for passive aggressively accusing me of lying about that, and yep, I understand to a very large extent what regulation means in a number of contexts civil, criminal, and Constitutional

To my own interpretation of the framer's intention in writing the Bill of Rights, I don't believe they intended such regulation. My statement was of my own ideological beliefs, not settled law as the courts have seen fit. Being a law student doesn't mean I have to agree with every decision SCOTUS has ever made. And yeah, again, I "really am."

I understand fully why it's been such regulation has been decided as Constitutional, and I understand that this is the law we work within now. I've read the cases, read the opinions. I disagree with the decision. In addition, I was only agreeing with a previous poster's point to launch into my disagreement with the legislation mentioned by the original poster. The full context of my post, not cherry-picked for a single statement, makes it blatantly clear that the main point of my post was to disagree with registration of non-gun-owners.

I'll bow out of this discussion, I'd hate to dare disagree with the Supreme Court (Dred Scott) and be thought of as ignorant of the law.
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Old July 27, 2011, 10:50 PM   #25
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Under a burden of strict scrutiny, the cost of a CCW permit can be only the cost of issuing one. The degree of scrutiny in Second Amendment cases has yet to be determined, unless some case has passed me by. Mandatory training is questionable. The Founding Fathers knew this was not necessary to keep and bear arms. The only case histories banning the carry of concealed weapons were aimed at keeping them out of the hands of undesirables, and in the hands of desirable poeple. It's quite possible in view of this it is possible that concealed carry is a constitutionally protected fundaamental right not subject to regulation beyond that which SCOTUS mentioned in Heller, namely nut cases, criminals and in sensitive government buildings*.

* but one can carry in a post office while hunting, unless it gets closed in the downsizing, or you are shot first by a postal service employee...
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