South Dakota is considering making everyone own a gun, and as Prof. Reynolds notes, it’s completely within the state’s power, and would even be within the federal government’s militia powers. I’ve always thought that even in a world where there was a very strong Second Amendment, our opponents would probably still have a lot of room for jerking around gun owners with the the militia powers.
For instance, the federal government could require people who owned firearms to drill regularly, or mandate people with firearms seek annual training and qualification. It would be hard to argue how this would not be within the militia powers. I could see, that if it’s clear the power is being used to frustrate people out of exercising the right, the militia power could come up against the Second Amendment. But it’s pretty clear the militia powers would offer our opponents in Congress, and in the various anti-gun organizations, a lot of leeway in frustrating gun ownership.
One saving grace is that the Constitution leaves the actual authority of executing the training prescribed by Congress with the states.
UPDATE: Outdoor pressroom notes it wasn’t a serious bill, but was designed to make a point about the Health Care mandate. Except that it’s not a very good point since mandating gun ownership is within Congress’ power.