Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Gun Law Proposed

And the shoe is on the other foot this time. Back in the day (late 1700s) when the Bill of Rights was being discussed, most states had incorporated into their constitutions a proviso about the state militia. Generally this was originally all free males between 18 and 45 years old, but there was wide variation from one state to the next.

Most states recognized that, among others, the Quakers were religiously opposed to violence against their fellow man, no matter how well deserved, and made exceptions to service in the militia for them. They also frequently added a requirement that the "religiously scrupulous" share in the cost of a call out of the militia by paying a sum to cover their absence. Rep. Maslack of Vermont finds this reasonable, and proposes to bring it back.

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 "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 prepared to defend the state
should they be asked to do so," Maslack says.
Indeed, if some percentage of the population has obtained CCW permits, and as a result, violent crime tapers off, then those non-carrying citizens are effectively getting the benefit of several hundred plainclothes police at no charge to themselves.

Fairest would be for the fees go to covering the costs incurred by the carriers, possibly by allowing them to completely deduct their costs for the permit, and one gun, and ammo from their state taxes. The number of people with permits being rather small, the state would realize a huge windfall from such a tax, and since I would be exempt, I'd favor it.

Vermont being one of two states that do not require a permit to carry, the rather stiff $500 fee would be assessed on non-gun-owners in general. Here, perhaps, a $100 tax on the disarmed, no effect on anyone providing proof of ownership of one qualifying gun, and a $100 tax credit if you attach a photocopy of your CCW to your tax form.

No comments: