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Outdoors Outpost
The Audacity of Audacity
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 • Posted October 17, 2012

Maybe it’s the fact that this is an election year, and the presidential candidates have such disparate opinions about what needs to be done to fix America’s problems. Maybe it’s all these insane people who have gone off their rockers lately, like the guy who shot up the movie theater in Colorado. Maybe too much of America has lost touch with its rural roots, or there are sunspots causing erratic neural function in humans, or aliens are aiming a giant ‘stupidity laser’ at earth. I don’t know what’s causing it, but something is wrong lately, and we need to figure out what it is and fix it.

On one hand we have the Cook County, Illinois Board of Directors trying to pass a Sin Tax on firearms and ammunition, and on the other we have a Vermont state legislator introducing a bill to fine Vermont citizens for NOT owning a gun.

As Ricky Ricardo would say, coming in the door in a snit, “Hey, Lucy, you got some splainin to do!”

How can people in the same country, who hold positions of authority as elected officials, entrusted by their constituants with making sound decisions, have such opposite opinions about an issue as simple as ‘Should people be trusted with guns, or not?’

OK, I’ll tell you how. The Cook County Board of Directors obviously buys crack in five gallon buckets.

To be fair and honest, the Vermont bill is just as stupid as the Chicago Sin Tax. The difference is that I don’t think Fred Maslack, the Vermont rep who introduced the bill, is serious. I think he was trying to make a point by being absurd, which seems to be the only way to make points with people too stupid to pour Dr. Pepper out of a boot, with the directions written on the heel.

Vermont has the most lax gun control laws in the United States, and usually the lowest violent crime rate. Any citizen with no felony convictions can own any legal firearm, and can carry it pretty much anywhere they want, whether concealed or not, in Vermont. The rules are, there are no rules, except the federal restrictions that apply to all American citizens.

Which means that, should a Vermont criminal decide to rob a Vermont bar on a busy Vermont Saturday night, he is liable to find himself facing several armed Vermont citizens, and could easily wind up in a Vermont morgue. Criminals are dumb, but they’re not that dumb. As Robert Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

Maslack’s bill would take Vermont’s permissive gun rules to another level, requiring those citizens who choose to eschew guns to pay a tax of $500 for the priviledge of being unarmed. And there is reasoning behind the proposal.

Vermont’s history of citizen militias reaches all the way back to the American Revolution, when Ethan Allen led his Green Mountain Boys in defense of the state. Vermont’s constitution actually says that those citizens who are “conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms” shall be required to “pay such equivalent.” In other words, if you want to live in Vermont, you either serve in the state militia, or you fork over the jack so we can pay someone to take your place.

Maslack’s public call to uphold the letter of Vermont law, however, is basically a protest. Some are suing the state over other issues, too complicated for inclusion here. His point is that those suits are frivolous, and if they are allowed, other suits should also be allowed, such as someone suing over the requirement for citizens to serve in the militia.

Besides, in order to tax those who don’t own guns, the state would have to have a list of who does own guns, including proof. Such a list is nothing more than gun registration, which is in direct opposition to Vermont’s goal in the area of gun ownership, which is freedom.

That bill won’t pass, and Maslack doesn’t expect it to. The Cook County Sin Tax, on the other hand, very will might. It is also an attempt to make a statement, whether the law passes or not. That statement is, “We hate freedom, and we want to take your constitutional rights away.”

Gun laws in Illinois, particularly Chicago, are already some of the most oppressive in the country. Not surprisingly, the violent crime rate there is one of the highest in America. The direct correlation between gun control and high crime has been proven so often it is irrefutable. The only informed people left who don’t believe an armed citizenry curbs crime are drooling imbiciles and intellectuals, neither of whom abide in reality.

Of the two (ridiculous) proposed laws, the only one that comes near being sensible is the Vermont ‘no gun’ tax. The only one that has even a slight chance of passing is the Chicago ‘sin’ tax.

We really need to do something about that stupidity laser . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who wears a foil hat to bed. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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