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washingtonpost.com

A modest proposal

By Al Horne
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

With Congress tied up over health reform -- legislation whose initial, much-discussed goal was to extend health insurance to as many as 47 million uninsured Americans -- this may be as good a time as any to propose another, less divisive reform.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms estimated in 2008 that more than 250 million guns were owned by U.S. citizens. Since President Obama's election last November, newspapers and electronic media have reported a sharp increase in U.S. gun sales, spurred by rumors that the new administration had secret plans to block gun sales to law-abiding Americans. Normally, about 4.5 million guns are sold in the United States each year, so this surge in sales means that Americans own roughly 260 million guns, in a population of nearly 309 million.

Surveys indicate that gun ownership is not spread evenly across U.S. households. In fact, chances are that a substantial proportion of U.S. gun owners have more than one weapon, so it's quite possible that fewer than 200 million Americans own those 260 million guns. That means there may be more than 100 million citizens left unprotected against their gun-owning fellow citizens.

Surely everyone can agree that this is an outrage. Moreover, it is an outrage that Congress can easily fix, without months of committee meetings, town halls or tea parties. All that is required is a bipartisan, pro-constitutional bill to extend the Second Amendment's protection of gun ownership to all Americans, whether they like it or not.

Under such legislation -- let's call it the Gun Insurance Act of 2009 -- every American would be required to buy some kind of gun. Those who cannot afford even the simplest weapon -- say, those whose 2009 annual income is less than twice the federal poverty level -- could be issued $500 vouchers that would be valid only at gun shops or gun shows, and would have to be used before the 2010 Census. (Just think: What a stimulus to private enterprise all these gun sales would provide, and how many new gun-selling jobs would be created!)

How would the law be enforced? Census takers could verify that everyone they count has a weapon in working condition, and those census takers who survive could report all non-complying Americans to the FBI so it could notify local police departments, which would issue citations for whatever fines Congress chooses to impose. (Note that this proposed legislation would not require creating any new bureaucracy, public option or death panels.) Of course, illegal immigrants would not receive vouchers, would not be required to buy guns and would not be counted in the Census.

So there it is: a modest proposal even Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley can agree on. If we're willing to require people to buy health insurance, why not require them to buy guns? Sure, maybe the Congressional Budget Office could overestimate its cost, and some wimpy liberals could file a court challenge, but the Supreme Court would slap it down on a clear 5-to-4 vote. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, here's one issue where you can count on at least a couple of Republican votes.
 

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Sounds like some people are not getting the clear satirical and sarcastic meaning of the Washington Post's editorial board, which means this editorial in the same sense that Jonathan Swift meant his.
 

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Sounds like some people are not getting the clear satirical and sarcastic meaning of the Washington Post's editorial board, which means this editorial in the same sense that Jonathan Swift meant his.
Bingo!

What's not clear to me was is it more pointed at health care or at 2A.

OTOH. It might be just aimed at those who "cling to...." -- i.e., a different opinion in general.

WWIIW -- in my experience folk who write a piece like this are showing a level of frustration -- a subconscious/suppressed need to show their "brilliance" and to try to put down those who don't see how "brilliant" they think that they are -- e.g., those who disagree with them.

IMHO, it is a "If you can't dazzle them with your "brilliance", baffle them with your bovine excrement."

When they find they are losing, they resort to an effete form of argumentum ad personam e.g., involves insulting or belittling one's opponent.
 

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How would the law be enforced? Census takers could verify that everyone they count has a weapon in working condition, and those census takers who survive could report all non-complying Americans to the FBI so it could notify local police departments, which would issue citations for whatever fines Congress chooses to impose.
That was definitely satire. But funny all the same.
 

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I'm still digesting this to determine my thoughts, as I'm not sure how I feel about how the article was written, but thought I would share.
 

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“It is not necesssary to understand things in order to argue about them.”

Caron de Beaumarchais
 

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Wouldn't it be an eye opening experience for all the census takers when those of us that carry came to the door.

Census taker: Sir/mam do you have an operational firearm in your household?

Homeowner: Without a word, takes his carry piece out of the holster and points it at the forehead of the census taker, then says "you want to find out?"

Census taker: After messing his pants, runs like hell to the car or down the street.

I say, have them start asking, we all need a good laugh every once in a while.
 

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That was definitely satire. But funny all the same.
I would disagree in the sense that the WaPo editorial board clearly means to smear gun owners as violent and murderous.

By the way, the title is the same as a Jonathan Swift satire from the 19th century, which essentially proposed that the solution to world hunger was to eat all the surplus children.

I am with Dave in wondering if this article was anti-2A or anti-healthcare 'reform.'

I would be surprised at the latter, given the source.
 

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There was a senator from Vermont who had proposed penalizing households that don't have a gun, citing that they are more costly to the state in terms of police protection, investigation, and "clean up" after a crime. This figure can be multiplied by the number of crimes that can be committed by an offender who wasn't stopped with the first crime (yes, I'm paraphrasing a bit).

While it's an entertaining notion, the real power of the 2A lies in the government NOT knowing who does--and does not--own a firearm.
 

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i'm confused at this article. but being that some of you say its satirical... kinda makes sense when i read this part...

"That means there may be more than 100 million citizens left unprotected against their gun-owning fellow citizens."

are they saying here that we gun owners are out to kill the 100 million who don't own guns??? i had to think about this one for a minute. like are they really an advocate for everyone being a gun owner when they think we're just out to kill people with our guns?? like do they think we won't kill people who buy guns.. had me scratching my noodle for a minute. its very true that more guns=less crime.. but i don't think they were looking at it that way.
 

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My take on it, possibly not the same as the author:

We are going to require all citizens to take health care, which is NOT a right, but we do not require citizens to partake in certain other rights. Not exactly an apples to apples comparison, since who would want every American to speak loudly from a street corner every day. Oh well.
 

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Under such legislation -- let's call it the Gun Insurance Act of 2009 -- every American would be required to buy some kind of gun.
This has to be a joke. This is where we lose people.

I meet people everyday that aren't mature enough/capable of safely owning and operating a gun. Some of them even say they don't own a gun because they couldn't stop from busting a cap in someone they didn't like. Owning a gun is not for everyone.
 
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