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Okay, this is (I hope) proposed tongue-in-cheek, but having lived in Missouri most of my life I suspect it is seriously proposed.

Introduced by Representative McDaniel HB1108 would have every MO resident, ages 18-35 to own an AR-15, with a tax credit to cover 75% of cost.

House Bill 1108

My question is, just how illegal is this law?

I am not versed in law, but it looks like it would have issues with

  • Fair trade, since it would subsidize the purchase of a single item from a single company.
  • Religious exemption

But, what do you think?

  • There is a local government in Colorado called Nucla (a former client of mine) that has a similar law that has not been invalidated but hasn't been tested in court either to my knowledge. – ohwilleke Mar 15 at 19:23
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Laws requiring residents or citizens to own weapons for militia service were common in colonial times, and I believe in early post-colonial times, under the Constitution. Such laws had been in effect in England for hundreds of years. Such laws often required that the weapons be maintained and in good working order.

I see nothing obviously unconstitutional in the proposed law. It does not mandate a particular manufacturer as currently proposed, but even if it did, a state is allowed to favor a manufacturer in making purchases if it so chooses and if its own law permits.

A person with a genuine religious objection to owning firearms might be able to sue to avoid the application of the law to that person, if the law as eventually passed did not provide such an exemption. If so, that would not make the law generally invalid.

The law would not exempt people from Federal background checks. If a person was unable to pass such a check, and thus could not legally purchase such a weapon at retail, such a person might be able to prevent enforcement of the law on him- or herself, but that would not make it generally invalid.

In any case the law as proposed provides no penalty for failure to comply. But siuch a provision could be added.

How likely such a law would be to pass, and to be enforced, is a matter of politics, not law. So is the question of how wise such a law would be.

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Assuming this could even pass,

Fair trade, since it would subsidize the purchase of a single item from a single company.

I don't think this is an issue since there are multiple manufacturers of the AR platform and the law as described by you (TL;DR) does not mandate a manufacturer, just a model (platform). Also the consumers have the choice and get subsidized the government does not make the purchase decision other than it must be purchased.

Religious exemption

The first amendment clearly state that congress shall not infringe the free practice of religion. In final form the bill will likely have an exemption for those that can at minimum justify through their beliefs that they should not own/posses a weapon, as no politician would find it prudent to do otherwise. I suppose even if you have to own one, you don't have to own a good/functioning one.

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