In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there’s been a renewed push by lawmakers around the country to require gun owners to buy liability insurance or, more specifically, to force them to pay a premium just for exercising their right to keep and bear arms.
Proponents of this constitutionally dubious idea have one goal in mind: To make it exceedingly costly for one to own a firearm, which would in turn reduce the number of gun owners in this country.
For proof of this agenda, one needs to look no farther than a recent article published in The Guardian, entitled “Message to insurers: forget pit bulls, get tough on guns,” which argued that mandatory insurance would make owning firearms “cost prohibitive” for the middle class.
The issue of gun ownership and insurance coverage has taken out increasing importance in recent months as a growing number of state legislators, frustrated by the lack of progress in Washington on enacting even the most rudimentary form of gun control, are attempting to force consumers who own guns to purchase liability insurance – much in the way car owners are required to buy coverage before they can legally drive their autos.
The hope by many people who are introducing and supporting such legislation is that new regulation in this area will do a great deal. They’re hoping it will force the costs of gun carnage on those who actually own firearms. It may even, perhaps, making it cost prohibitive for middle-class homeowners – like, say, Nancy Lanza, the mother of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza – to keep firearms, or at least give them a monetary incentive to store them securely.
If that was startling enough, the author of the article, Helaine Olen, concluded by making this very direct remark about the effect liability insurance would have on gun ownership.
So here’s hoping the states can begin passing insurance mandates for gun owners. Given how little luck gun control advocates have had in Washington, it seems like it is the most effective way of reducing gun ownership in the United States currently on offer.
What’s shocking about this line of reasoning is that it totally ignores the facts. Mainly, that law-abiding gun owners are not responsible for the gun-related crime and violence in this country. Criminals are the ones who (a) ignore the law and (b) use unlawfully owned firearms to perpetrate violence.
Consequently, if we are to shift the cost of gun carnage on anyone it should be criminals, not law-abiding gun owners. But criminals aren’t going to purchase liability insurance. Of course, everyone knows this — which underscores why gun control advocates want to push the cost on responsible gun owners.
To explicate, and as I’ve argued in the past, one can make a credible argument that mandatory insurance would turn a constitutionally guaranteed right into a privilege contingent upon one’s income. If one doesn’t have enough money to afford the insurance premium, he/she cannot exercise his/her fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Does this mean that gun-related insurance is a bad idea? No. In fact, gun owners can purchase liability insurance to protect themselves against lawsuits in the event of a self-defense shooting or against accidents, injuries, etc. Even the National Rifle Association offers insurance packages, advertising on its website, “Because accidents do happen no matter how careful you are.”
Though no pro-gun organization (as far as we can tell) is arguing that it should be mandatory for all gun owners. It’s when it’s required by law that liability insurance becomes problematic, and really a way to disarm law-abiding civilians.