This bologna is making the rounds of the internet — again:

[VT State Rep. Fred ] 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 A mendment 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.”

For anyone who thinks this is a ‘New Bill,’ be advised that Fred Maslack is not a current member of either the Vermont House or Senate. He was, years ago. Anyway, I’ve been hearing this story for years on the internet, since before I even started blogging in 2002. Once upon a time such a bill was introduced by him, but, it obviously went nowhere. It certainly isn’t part of the 2011-2012 legislative session. Urban (or rural) legends die hard.

Would it have been a good idea? Forcing someone to buy a gun or pay a fine? Is the individual mandate in ObamaCare a good idea? I don’t think so. The government has no business telling you what you must buy or own.