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How Do We Know if More Guns Increases the Risk of Danger?

As a solution to our gun violence problems, many people base their entire proposal on the dogmatic pro gun cliche, "more guns, less crime."  Is that true?  How do we justify that reasoning?  Is it possible to justify the reasoning?

During the health care debates, we were often told that the insurance companies should be allowed to do what they want, because it's an open market, and the market should decide those costs, not the government.  

We heard that quite a bit out of the mouths of GOP and their base of enabling AM radio chuckleheads.  So I thought, we should apply their reasoning to the issue of gun violence.  

Can the Insurance Market Assess this Risk?

Let's let the market determine whether or not guns increase the risk of violence.  

Insurance companies are in the business of assessing risk.  They do it, and they make an incredible amount of money doing it.  

In fact, I spoke with a professor from the University of Washington who works on climate issues.  His data is used by local municipalities to determine their insurance liabilities.  In other words, global warming increases the financial risk for municipalities.  

The market has determined that global warming is a valid and real threat.  

What would happen if we let the market determine the actual increase in risk that comes with such widespread gun ownership.  

To do that, we have to ask the question: Does having a gun increase your liability insurance rates?  

IAMNIA (I am not an insurance agent), but when I search the internet for firearms liability insurance, it appears that traditional insurance companies are frequently in the business of avoiding coverage for activities or incidents involving firearms. There is the simple idea that you need extra coverage to guard against theft or damage of the guns.  

There is also the idea that if you have guns in your home, your risk of financial liability as a result of gun violence in your home increases.  

It's clear that the insurance industry regards more guns in the home as something that could lead to increased risk of payout.  

That would mean...

The insurance market recognizes that more guns in a home increases risk from gun violence.

See?

Traditional insurance companies are, now more than ever, avoiding coverage for activities or incidents involving firearms. They define these activities as extreme in nature, allowing them to be excluded from coverage – usually in the fine print.
In other words, the market has determined that the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and others are wrong when  they say that more guns increases safety.  

What Insurance Company Would Provide Liability Insurance for a School District that Armed its Teachers?  

Now imagine if the extreme pro gun faction were to get their way and we were to see more staff at schools carrying weapons.  If having an extra gun or two in your home with children is enough to increase the risk of insurance to the point where insurance agents will tell you to contact a different insurer (not your homeowners' insurance agent), then can you imagine what the insurance industry would say to a school district who decided that its teachers should carry firearms which would presumably be loaded during the day?  

Can you imagine the first time a gun accidentally discharged in a classroom without injury?  How about the first time a teacher needs to fire the weapon, but the bullet passes through the classroom wall into the next room?  Imagine your kindergarten teacher bending over with a firearm just two inches away from a child.

Or, how about the first time a gun is seized from a teacher in the classroom by an 18 year old high school student?  

More guns increases those risks.  

Originally posted to otto on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just wanted to get this out there (30+ / 0-)

    I'm going to guess that the market doesn't really matter to them in this case.

    It matters when it suits the argument.  That's it.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:04:41 AM PST

  •  Maybe we can petition the major insurance (11+ / 0-)

    companies to add gun ownership to the risk factors in existing policies.  I mean, right now policies spread this risk across the board and we could have insurance rates be higher for homes with firearms and lower for homes without.

    What a great idea.  Thank you.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:14:16 AM PST

  •  Astute about le suit (16+ / 0-)

    A right-wing lobbyist and some-time GOP candidate startled me over lunch one day by saying things that implied he believed global climate change is real.  Wuh?

    "Half my clients are insurance companies and they're sinking millions of dollars into research and computer models trying to figure out how bad it will be where and when.  I can't argue with that.  They wouldn't shell out big bucks on make-believe."

    The only thing I could think to say in response was, "Tell your friends."

    My response to this diary can only be the same.  Thanks for getting this out there where it can help.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:16:32 AM PST

  •  well, if we could ever get to health insurance (5+ / 0-)

    for all, universal, single payor, Medicare for all,

    there would be a whole lot of insurance co's out there with noone to fleece..

    sorry,

    Insure.

    So, if we insist on being the most heavily armed citizenry in the world, then the insurance co's could take up insuring the masses again with a new insurance product:

    Insurance against dangerous, gun fetishist supidity.

    Gun Control: If not now, then when????

    by karma13612 on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:19:56 AM PST

    •  You know, the health care law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karma13612

      Might lead to something being done about guns.

      Since guns cause physical injury, health insurance corporations stand to gain from safer, less easily available guns.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does this correlate to why we are seeing ALEC (4+ / 0-)

    push "stand your ground" legislation - it "removes" the financial risk of law suit? Because if people were paying massive legal fees and damages, it would be likley to reduce demand.

    There is no environmental, social, economic or resource problem that wouldn't be helped by 3 billion fwer people on the planet.

    by tjlord on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:28:00 AM PST

  •  I'm not sure this is true. I just had a complete (6+ / 0-)

    insurance review, and commented to my significant other that it was interesting that they ask about pit bulls and watercraft ownership and whether there is an adolescent in the household but not about guns in the home.

    •  I found the same information (6+ / 0-)

      I found the same idea in different places.  

      http://smartshopyourcarinsurance.com/...

      3. When you contact your insurance company and ask about gun coverage, they may ask you questions about the guns you own and how they are kept. If the insurance company decides your situation poses a “substantial increase in hazard,” you can see your homeowners insurance canceled, and you will have difficulty getting replacement coverage.

      Usually, this applies in less common situations, like if you have an assault rifle, or a shooting range on your property. Though, if you are an avid gun enthusiast, this may apply to you. I never had an issue with it in my work experience, but I have read complaints about some insurance companies refusing to insure people keeping loaded guns in their homes.

      Streichholzschächtelchen

      by otto on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:49:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That article seems to be mostly about how (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto

        the replacement cost of guns are covered if they are lost or stolen, not liability issues related to gun ownership. Sure, if you have an extensive collection of guns, you have to list and insure them separately, just as you have to if you have expensive artworks or gold coins or whatever. Anything valuable and attractive to thieves has to be separately insured. But since insurance companies don't even ask about whether there are guns in the home, it is hard to make the argument you do in this diary, that there is an acknowledged risk to gun ownership that the insurance industry recognizes. They're awfully good at hiking policy rates where they do recognize risk (i.e. in areas at risk of hurricanes). And the policy I'm shopping costs $800 more per year as long as my adolescent child is in the household. But they did not even inquire about firearms.

        •  It says plainly and cleary in the article (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, splashy

          The guy even goes on to say that you shouldn't contact your homeowner's insurance, but instead you should ask a different one.  

          Why that?  

          Because you homeowner's insurance might drop you if you disclose it.

          If you disagree with the premise, then I think you should demostrate that it's incorrect.  

          Doubting it based on your personal experience is not the best way of determining whether or not something is true.

          Just ask yourself is an insurance company would insure a school district that provided firearms to its teachers.  

          If you thin they would be hesitant, or if you think the price would increase, then you have to ask yourself why?  

          Is it just the number of guns?  Is it that there are children there?  

          Streichholzschächtelchen

          by otto on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:07:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, that kind of proves my point. Homeowners' (0+ / 0-)

            insurance agents don't even ask about guns in the home. If they did, it wouldn't matter whether you raised the issue with your own agent. If they ask you, and you lie, they don't have to pay, because you've committed fraud.

    •  Bet it's in the fine print (0+ / 0-)

      Where they are absolved of all responsibilities when guns are involved.

      So, if someone breaks in and injures you with a gun, they may not pay anything.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:09:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the Path... Make it Expensive. (7+ / 0-)

    It is now true that since Scalia and the Gang of Five Supremes in Heller (which will be ruled to be invalid "bad law" in the future, I have no doubt)  have taken away ANY Constitutionally required "well-regulated" aspect to the second Amendment (Shhhh.. its a "prefatory clause.. not operative) the primary means open to serve society's interest is a market-based solution.

    This is not subject to Constitutional challenge. ANYTHING, except people, mostly, (unless you are employed by a Corporation or Professional Athletic Team) may be bought and sold in America, including risk.

    This is probably the reason the NRA prevented the National Center for Disease Control from conducting research on gun violence during the Bush years and up until today.  The less known, the more the NRA can attack assertions of gun violence being caused by the existence of guns in the home.

    This is a step that can be taken at the state level to defray the Health costs of injury and death of firearms. Require gun owners to post proof of insurance, a bond and a statement of liability coverage. The parallel to cars is obvious, and tends to destroy the Ban Cars AND Guns argument of the Gun Rightists.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:59:59 AM PST

    •  there is no parallel to cars, actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto

      people are happy to insure their $30,000 sportscar, because nobody wants to be out 30k because someone else lost control.

      i.e., there is a natural market for car insurance, onto which you just tack a little extra for liability.

      on the gun question, though, demanding liability insurance is essentially asking someone to insure against illegal activity, using a gun to kill not in self-defense. i'm just not at all sure one can insure against illegal actions.  it'd be comparable to specifically insuring against DUI.

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:45:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Accidents and Incidents... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto, splashy

        with guns are not necessarily illegal activities. Those are the primary objectives of Liability Insurance. This may bring actuaries more into the debate about how likely guns are to change person's cast of mind from.. say.. sane to insane... based on the simple availability of a legal object.

        And, even with cars, if you do something illegal with it, such as turn left on a one way street and kill someone, the Insurance Liability will still pay. Your rates DO go up, and everyones rates go up, since statistically, its now actuarily more likely that someone will die based on past events, but illegal events are covered with car insurance as well. THEN you go to jail. But you have the damage covered.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:56:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i dunno (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto

          it's one sticky wicket.

          Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

          by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:16:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. It is. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            People, such as Midwestern Republicans, and Corporate Democrats.. (same thing???)  are more likely to support a financial/ insurance solution than a legal one at this point, I think.

            Still... not easy.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:19:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i think what has the best shot (0+ / 0-)

              is cracking down on internet ammo sales
              limiting clip capacity to 20
              some kind of tax or something that hits manufacturers

              i don't see DiFi's AWB going anywhere, and it could only ever apply to new purchases, anyway.  i really don't get how liability insurance on guns could work out; the extant policies are primarily focused on firearm use in self-defense, attached to other policies, etc.

              Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

              by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:15:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splashy

        I don't think there even needs to be a connection to auto insurance made.  

        Like I said, I'm no insurance agent, but I am pretty sure that you don't have to break the law to have  to use your firearms liability insurance.

        If someone is injured accidentally in your home by your firearm, then it needs to be covered one way or another.  

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 09:03:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of course you can insure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pimutant, splashy

        You just have to pay the price.  I can think of no reason why every gun owner shouldn't be required to carry full liability insurance for anything done with the insured weapon, with an add-on to cover losses from uninsured weapons.  Insurance might be the solution to the gun problem just like taxes were the solution to the gangsters of the 30's.

        I'm still mad about Nixon.

        by J Orygun on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:11:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  perhaps ask the school districts that arm teachers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    concernedamerican, otto, ExStr8
    What Insurance Company Would Provide Liability Insurance for a School District that Armed its Teachers?  

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:06:52 AM PST

  •  I love it, make gun owners carry liability insuran (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, Nance

    ce, if they can get it.

  •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

    Insurance underwriters are to be applauded for their risk assessment of firearms, but not for their assessment of health insurance actuarial risks. Got it.

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