Being interviewed on CBS' "Washington Unplugged," Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said this:
Never before in our history has the federal government ordered Americans to buy a product under the guise of regulating commerce. Imagine if this bill were that in order to protect our communities and homeland security, every American had to buy a gun. Can you imagine the reaction across the country to that?
Just as the government could say that healthcare impacts everyone's lives, they could say that the threat of crime does so also.
Just as they might claim that the government needs to be involved because of externalities, the exact same thing can be said of guns being used to stop crime, possibly even a stronger case. The government has put all sort so regulations on healthcare and they could put similar regulations on gun ownership (e.g., mandating that people have to practice at a firing range once a month).
A copy of the Virginia judge's decision is available here.
Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause power to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.
If allowed to stand as a tax, the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would be the only tax in U.S. history levied directly on individuals for their failure to affirmatively engage in activity mandated by the government not specifically delineated in the Constitution.
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