In addition to the assault weapons ban, and closing loopholes for unregulated sales at gun shoes, an additional proposal to reduce the number of guns that fall into the hands of irresponsible parties is to pass new laws requiring gun owners to register them, maintain liability insurance, and be liable for negligence in the case they are used in a way that harms others people's lives if they were not kept in locked storage with trigger locks.
This proposal would still allow 2nd amendment gun ownership, but raise the cost to those criminal, or marginal elements that might be caught with unregistered, uninsured, or improperly stored weapons, and make it easier for police to stop and intercept those with unregistered, or uninsured weapons, or weapons that are not their own. Although critics raise what appear to be valid objections, and even constitutional issues, it's an interesting new angle I haven't read about before, and the discussion may raise awareness and increase the use of safety precautions such as trigger locks, and locked storage.
Cryan and Holding propose requiring insurance for ammunition sales as well.
Congress should push for mandatory gun insurance. Firearm ownership is a U.S. constitutional right. But as last week’s massacre again demonstrated, it comes at a cost. Requiring liability coverage could be one way to keep the most dangerous weapons from unstable hands without infringing the law.
The biggest legal obstacle to gun regulation is the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The right to bear arms has generally trumped strict limits on ownership, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision extended the right to individuals. Imposing a hefty insurance policy could make owning a firearm prohibitively expensive for some and create constitutional problems.
But tying the price of coverage to the cost of gun incidents could work. And there’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. There’s already a precedent: the National Rifle Association offers liability insurance to members.
But, other disagree and suggest that gun owners can no more be held liable for crimes committed with their stolen gun than an owner of a stolen automobile. In
But, Loyola law professor Blaine LeCesne suggests this is more "prevention rhetoric" than law.
Under the legal doctrine of proximate cause, LeCesne said the act of stealing the car and the recklessness or negligence involved in hitting or injuring another victim would supersede the car owner's negligence in leaving the car unsecured. ... The courts, he said, generally view the shooting another person as unforeseeable act for a lawful gun owner who simply forgot to secure their weapon. "It's unfair and unjust to hold that person responsible," LeCesne said.
The question is whether the gun owner could have reasonably foreseen that the weapon could accidently harm someone if left unsecured. It's similar to leaving a gun lying around in the open. "It's more likely or more foreseeable that that kind of action could happen," LeCesne said.
In short, if the gun is used negligently, a gun owner may end up in court. But if the gun is used intentionally and criminally, the owner isn't responsible. "The Sheriff's Office message is a very good one, and it should be taken to heart by any gun owner because there is the prospect of being held civilly liable," LeCesne said.
I'm not a lawyer, but I find this to be an interesting debate. Requiring insurance is not going to prevent gun violence but it is conceivable that serious attempt to push the liability issue could raise awareness and lead more gun owners to be more responsible by using trigger locks and keeping their guns locked in storage.