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Dem proposal: $10k fine for gun owners who don’t have liability insurance

By Doug Powers  •  April 2, 2013 02:11 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

If some Democrats have their way, armed guards at schools will be replaced by a more effective deterrent: Insurance salesmen:

A contingent of liberal Democrats in Congress is proposing a new federal gun control idea: mandatory liability insurance for gun owners.

When New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the legislation last month with eight other Democrats, she boasted that it is “the first bill to require liability insurance of gun buyers nationwide.”

Maloney’s “Firearm Risk Protection Act” requires gun buyers to have “a qualified liability insurance policy” before they are able to legally purchase a firearm.
Others who have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation include: Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano, Virginia Rep. Jim Moran, Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, Massachusetts Rep. Nikki Tsongas, Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

What are the odds that a crazed individual bent on killing as many people as possible will re-think his plan because he doesn’t want that “lack of liability insurance” fine?

That said, some are trying to make an argument for precisely what Maloney is attempting to legislate:

It’s an idea that seems to be gathering a bit of steam. At Forbes.com, John Wasik lays out the logic behind treating firearm deaths as a market externality to be compensated via insurance, as we do with cars: “Those most at risk to commit a gun crime would be known to the actuaries doing the research for insurers… An 80-year-old married woman in Fort Lauderdale would get a great rate. A 20-year-old in inner-city Chicago wouldn’t be able to afford it. A 32-year-old man with a record of drunk driving and domestic violence would have a similar problem.” Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding write that mandatory liability insurance is a measure that could pass Supreme Court muster where other restrictions might fail: “[T]here’s a strong argument that damage caused by firearms gives the government a ‘compelling interest’ to require insurance, the test for infringing a constitutional right.”

Designing a system so 20-year-olds in inner-city Chicago can’t afford a constitutional right? If Republicans were saying this I’m guessing more than a few people would have major problems with it.

Also, car insurance comparisons don’t address how the Dem idea for mandatory liability insurance for gun owners would help prevent another Newtown or Aurora, not that I expected them to. Prevention of such horrible crimes was what this discussion was supposedly about, right? My car insurance policy doesn’t prevent crimes such as the theft of my vehicle — it only covers the loss — and the insurance doesn’t prevent the stolen car from then being used to run into a school bus. Interesting how some “solutions” to problems so often involve making those who have nothing to do with the problem pay up anyway.

In a related story:

FACT: That’s not a fact. Three Pinocchios.

More on gun insurance:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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