The first reaction upon hearing the following story is generally: “wow, what a funny Onion article!” or “The New Yorker‘s Andy Borowitz outdid himself this time!”
However, amazingly, rather than satire, this is a story about an actual bill proposed in the Missouri legislature that would require every Missouri resident between the ages of 18 and 35 to buy an AR-15 assault rifle, according to The St. Louis Riverfront Times,
Yes, the very weapon that has been used to murder so many people in incidents ranging from the mosque massacre in New Zealand just days ago to mass killings here in America everywhere from Las Vegas to California to Florida and beyond — the weapon that New Zealand banned within 24 hours of the racist slaughter in their country and that Parkland teens and their fellow students across the country have been advocating to reinstate the ban of which in America — would be a mandated purchase in a state where the opposition to government control of people’s lives has led them to refuse to expand Medicaid despite the fact that the costs would initially be mostly covered by the federal government to start.
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“Introduced last month by state Representative Andrew McDaniel (R-Deering), the bill, titled the “McDaniel Militia Act,” would create a state tax credit (capped at $1 million annually) to function as an incentive for residents not yet strapped with Big Government’s preferred Big Gun — the AR-15. Purchasers could then claim the tax credit on up to 75 percent of the gun’s cost,” according to the St. Louis newspaper.
“The bill’s text states, ‘Any person who qualifies as a resident on August 28, 2019, and who does not own an AR-15 shall have one year to purchase an AR-15… Every resident of this state shall own at least one AR-15′ [emphasis added],” the article continues.
Hopefully, someone has checked McDaniel’s stock portfolio to see whether he owns a significant position in the stocks of arms manufacturers, because this sort of imbecilic idea could only be invented by someone with a large personal stake in the outcome of the policy.
Even worse, the “McDaniel Militia Act” is not the state representative’s only attempt to require citizens to purchase weapons. He also introduced the “McDaniel Second Amendment Act,” which “requires every person 21 years of age or older who can legally possess a firearm to own a handgun.”
This is coming from the same Republican party that blew their gaskets over the health insurance mandate provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring that every human purchase a health care policy — just as every car must be insured — or face a tax penalty.
Neither of Rep. McDaniel’s bills address the issue of what the penalty for failure to comply would be nor whether exemptions would be allowed for people who conscientiously object to its provisions.
The Riverfront Times did a back of the envelope calculation to see how quickly the million dollars in Missouri taxpayer subsidies for the purchase of assault weapons would be exhausted and how many gun sales might be expected to be generated by the bill were it to pass.
The rough calculation was hampered by a lack of information on how many Missourians already own AR-15-style weapons and how many people are barred from legally possessing them, but still estimated that McDaniel’s bill would encourage more than a million new assault rifle purchases. With guns of this type ranging from $500 to $1600 each that million dollars in subsidy money would be exhausted pretty quickly.
It’s sad that a state that refuses to spend a penny to expand its citizens’ access to health care is even considering wasting that much money on underwriting the purchase of weapons that will send more people to the hospital when they aren’t sending them to the grave.
So far the bills have yet to make it to committee and will likely be rejected eventually as unconstitutional as Republicans sued to have the Obamacare Health Insurance mandate declared before they eliminated it as part of their billionaire tax cut bill.
Still, for someone to even have proposed this after the number of senseless gun deaths that America has experienced due to these military weapons shows how far we are from meaningful gun reform in this country. Missouri Representative McDaniel’s proposals are sad, stupid, and insane.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.