Missouri State Representative Andrew McDaniel (R – Deering) introduced two outrageous gun bills in an effort to make a point about the war being waged on Second Amendment rights. In doing so, he actually raised another important point: the Second Amendment should protect rights, not provide fodder for political shows of force.
Both bills would mandate Missouri residents over 18 to purchase some sort of firearm. The McDaniel Second Amendment Act would require residents 21 or older to purchase a handgun, while the McDaniel Militia Act would require residents aged 18 to 35 to purchase AR-15s. These bills include tax credit language that would serve as a way to offset the cost of purchasing the weapons.
McDaniel does not expect the bills to make it through the Missouri State Legislature but wants to make a point about the regulation of gun ownership. If the bills progress, he plans to strip out the mandated purchase language while leaving the tax credit program in place.
While I don’t that proposing bills you do not want to see signed into law is the wisest way to get people thinking, McDaniel does raise good points regarding the restriction and regulation of gun ownership in America. We ignore the Second Amendment far too often when it clearly reads, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Yet, McDaniel’s bills are scary for the very point they are making. In a political climate that is often more concerned with winning than with proper governance, it would be simple for Republicans to abandon guiding principles of freedom and liberty in order to gain some ground on such a polarizing topic. These bills are troubling for the image of a potential future they present where Republicans try to swing gun regulation in the other direction by mandating and regulating in favor of gun ownership, not against.
The Second Amendment is not about force, but about rights. It is the right of the people to keep and bear arms if they wish. This also insures the implied right of the people to refuse to keep and bear arms.
Mandating someone into gun ownership is a terrible idea; never do I want to see a person who is nervous around guns forced to own one – that is a recipe for disaster. Gun ownership is all about the rights of the American citizen. While it is wrong for Democrats to pollute this right into a show of political force, it would be just as wrong for Republicans to do the same.