This February 4, 2013 photo illustration in Manassas, Virginia, shows a man holding a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Would mandating that citizens own guns violate their constitutional rights?
It's an odd question, especially considering that the vast majority of discussion surrounding Second Amendment rights of late has focused upon proposed restrictions on firearms -- not mandates that citizens actually purchase weapons.
But this latter notion is one that has been proposed and debated in select communities across the nation. The general idea is that requiring gun ownership will lead to a decrease in overall crime (i.e. the more homes that have guns, the less frequent break-ins and other related illegal activity will be).
Last week, TheBlaze told you about David Marsters, a retired cop and a resident of Sabattus, Maine. He's been pushing a controversial proposal that would require every head of household in the town to own a firearm. While he argued that imposing such a measure would help protect the community and cut down on crime, local authorities inevitably rejected his proposal.
But, despite this failure, leaders in Nelson, Ga., also believe wholeheartedly that the gun mandate (or, more appropriately labeled, the intense urge for citizens to bear arms) is the way to go. Councilwoman Edith Portillo defended the proposal in an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Monday. The main push for an armed citizenry comes as city leaders claim that police often don't make it to crime scenes on time.
Portillo noted that those who are staunchly opposed to having a gun won't need to obtain one, although the law does say that heads of household should possess one, Mediaite reports. Watch her discuss the issue, below:
And these communities aren't alone. This morning, the Associated Press reported that a separate initiative mandating gun ownership in Byron, Maine, was also turned down. When faced with the question, "Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunitions to protect the citizens?," 50 of the town's residents voted "no."
Some gun owners in Byron even spoke out after the vote, saying that they believe firearms are a right -- but that they should not be a requirement. This idea of requiring people to bear arms is nothing new, as it has roots in the nation's founding. That said, it's a relatively foreign concept in contemporary society.
As TheBlaze previously noted in exploring America's gun control history, at various times in the nation's infancy, men were required to own firearms. But whether that should continue today is an entirely different question.
What do you think? Is mandating gun ownership the right course of action -- of does it hamper individual rights? Take the poll, below:
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