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The New York Times has just published an article on an increased role for the insurance industry with respect to guns.
 

Lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have proposed legislation this year that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance — much as car owners are required to buy auto insurance. Doing so would give a financial incentive for safe behavior, they hope, as people with less dangerous weapons or safety locks could qualify for lower rates.
Perhaps they would have a huge surcharge for the worst weapons?  I think it's an interesting solution.

Some of the relevant paragraphs:

“I believe that if we get the private sector and insurance companies involved in gun safety, we can help prevent a number of gun tragedies every year,” said David P. Linsky, a Democratic state representative in Massachusetts ... “Insurance companies are very good at evaluating risk factors and setting their premiums appropriately,” he added.

Groups representing gun owners oppose efforts to make insurance mandatory, arguing that law-abiding people should not be forced to buy insurance to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. But some groups, including the National Rifle Association, endorse voluntary liability policies for their members. And as several states pass laws making it easier for people to carry concealed weapons and use them for self-defense, some gun groups are now selling policies to cover some of the legal costs stemming from self-defense shootings.

Whether or not you trust insurance companies in their evaluation of risk, it would bring an interesting and interested party to the table:
The insurance industry is wary of some of the proposals to require gun owners to buy liability coverage — and particularly of bills, like one that was filed in New York that would require coverage for damages resulting not only from negligence but also from “willful acts.”

Robert P. Hartwig, the president of the Insurance Information Institute, said that insurance generally covered accidents and unintentional acts — not intentional or illegal ones. “Insurance will cover you if your home burns down in an electrical fire, but it will not cover you if you burn down your own house, and you cannot insure yourself for arson,” he said.

One could see that the insurance industry, if forced to provide this coverage, could be a powerful ally in finding ways to reduce gun violence.

I think we're making progress in this issue, folks.  Please add your thoughts and opinions below.

*
Tired of politics?  Need to escape?  Try my Greek mythology based novels, either the story of Oedipus from the point of view of Jocasta, or a trilogy about Niobe, whose children were murdered by the gods - or were they?

Originally posted to chloris creator on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:15 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The right of the wealthy to keep and bear arms? (5+ / 0-)

    More points of wealth privilege is surely a good thing. I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:29:18 PM PST

    •  the wealthy can be sued (6+ / 0-)

      if they abuse their guns

      www.tapestryofbronze.com

      by chloris creator on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:33:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would bet you that if Mrs. Lanza... (8+ / 0-)

      ... had to pay an appropriate premium for the potential risk posed by that AR-15 in that situation, there would be 26 more people in Connecticut today.

      I would further bet you that if AR-15 owners with a similar risk rating had their premiums raised after Sandy Hook, they would consider selling their gun rather than paying the increased premiums.  This alone could prevent the next school massacre.

      Insurance wouldn't prevent them from owning a weapon to defend themselves, but it may make them think about the risk/reward ratio of owning a weapon purely designed to kill people in large numbers.  Premiums on handguns, and guns designed in the future with safety designed into them would probably be very low - but when you get into mass killing machines, the premiums should be high.

      I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

      by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:41:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In other words (6+ / 0-)

        pricing the RKBA of the hands of the middle class is good. Considering how democrats, such as myself, generally dislike enhanced rights for the rich it seems a bit hypocritical.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:24:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe in the same way that insuring the latest... (3+ / 0-)

          ... Mercedes or Cadillacs are priced out of the hands of the middle class too?  I would really love to drive a Porsche, in my earnings prime I could have afforded the note, but not the insurance for myself and my daughter.  So I got something more affordable and practical, and I was happy with it and I could afford the insurance.

          Another point.  The insurance premium for a weapon owned by a younger person with kids in the house would probably be more than the premium for the same weapon owned by an "empty nester".  Who knows, that lower premium may be well within the reach of someone who is "middle class".

          I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

          by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:43:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I thought the pro gun control people (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too

            insisted that comparing automobiles to firearms was inappropriate.

            There is no right to own and operate an automobile. There is a 2nd Amendment. It is recognized as an individual right by the Supreme Court.

            Perhaps you will have to insure your public speaking next (lest you say anything the government may consider subversive.)

            A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by notrouble on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:57:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're not comparing guns to cars... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino, sandblaster

              ... we are talking about insurance.  But if you want to go there, you would have to admit that the insurance industry has done a lot to make cars safer - maybe they could do the same thing with guns.

              I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

              by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:33:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Trigger locks and gun safes..... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sandino, Hey338Too

                would get you a cut.  I bet the rates on really fancy old guns would be lower for collectors.  They might even register all the guns to enforce this.  I think if you can't afford to pay for the damage done, you might think twice about the responsibility of owning a gun.  Note, they don't cover being sued for self defense-too many Oscar Pistorius types out there.  I think we should jail some of these negligent gun owners too.  If a child dies from an unsecured weapon, that should be a crime somehow.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:04:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Hey - the cost of the Porche or the gun (4+ / 0-)

            are set by the market, not by government regulation. Government can't make Porche's cheaper, but they can set the insurance requirements. Car insurance is an interesting market. The minimum liability car insurance, usually $30,000 - $50,000 will not cover the cost of many cars or for the severe injuries of a single victim. Why don't we require enough insurance so that any car could be replaced and 24/7/365 care could be provided to someone severely injured? The answer is that if we price the poor out of the market they will drive uninsured and there has been a public policy decision that some insurance is better than none. As a result we have shifted the cost and liability to the injured party. And this is for car insurance where there is certainly no constitutional right to own or drive a car.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:03:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So would you argue that no insurance for... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Sandino

              ... guns is better than some insurance?  

              Just for the sake of the argument, let's assume the average insurance policy for a weapon cost $5/month.  With 300 million weapons in the country, if half of them are insured that's $750M per month that could be used to compensate gun violence victims - $9B a year.  Granted, the insurance companies are going to have some overhead, so who knows how much of that actually can go towards restitution, but it's going to be significant.

              Is there somewhere in the Constitution that says that city or state government (citizens) must pay the bills associated with 2nd Amendment victims if the 2nd Amendment rights excercisor isn't financially able to do so - shouldn't that be a private debt?  (Note: I am actually nervous about asking VClib this question because he may have an answer I don't like.)

              I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

              by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:05:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey - no private insurance will pay for (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hey338Too, OldSoldier99, notrouble

                criminal acts. The only option would be for a government managed insurance pool which would help pay for the care of victims of gun violence, or some lump sum if someone was killed. Any discussion of having the private market insure criminal activity is a non-starter. A state could set up a pool and charge a monthly or annual fee, but that would require gun owners to identify themselves, which will be very difficult to achieve politically.

                There is no constitutional requirement for government, at any level, to pay for healthcare for anyone. However, we have decided, as a public policy, that everyone deserves emergency care regardless if their injuries stem from gun violence, a car accident, illness or any other trauma. Emergency services are provided without regard to the ability to pay. There is no doubt that injuries from gun violence are a very expensive societal cost, and that taxpayers absorb much of that expense. However, I imagine auto injuries exceed the insured amounts at a level that is far larger than gun violence.  

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:34:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It will be interesting to see what happens... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib, Sandino

                  ... if the NY gun liability insurance bill becomes law.  It could represent a sea change for gun owners, gun manufacturers, and insurance companies.

                  As for the public policy application of providing healthcare to emergency victims, I understand and agree with those policies.  The issue is repayment for the services rendered, and currently there isn't a way to make sure that a gun owner even has a penny which can go toward defraying those costs.  Insurance will at least guarantee that some amount, will be available to cover the victims injuries.

                  Lastly, thank G-D you didn't find some Constitutional remedy to 2nd Amendment injuries.  I was truly worried that you were going to come back with:

                  According to Article 92, Section 200, Paragraph 1(c)1 - The States shall be liable for any and all injuries...

                  I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

                  by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:47:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hey - I agree he NY legislation will be (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Hey338Too, andalusi

                    interesting to follow. They can't require insurance that covers criminal acts if no one will provide it so it will be interesting to see if the private market is willing to cover those risks, and at what price. My guess is that they establish a state run pool.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 11:34:52 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Apples to oranges (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sandino

            You can still get a good car like a Toyota or Honda on a middle class salary.  Likewise, you can own a good quality handgun for >$500 that will last a lifetime.  Unlike the car, it won't wear out in 15 years.

            Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

            by DavidMS on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:03:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You do realise she was rich... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too, Texas Lefty, notrouble

        She received about ~250K/year in alimony.  That will buy a lot of insurance.  

        Therefore, it would not have been a deterrent.  

        Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

        by DavidMS on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:27:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Therefore it MAY not have been a deterent... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino

          ... if the she said that she was living with a young adult with development and socialization issues - cha ching...

          if she said that she wasn't locking up the weapons so that they were protected from theft - cha ching...

          if she said that the weapons were hanging on the wall of her son's bedroom - cha ching...

          We have no way of knowing how much her premium may have been.  But 250K/year isn't enough to make someone throw money around, the woman drove a Honda Civic, so she wasn't extravagant.

          I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

          by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:50:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It might have made her evaluate the situation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too

            Just going through the questions, having to answer them to someone who gave a damn - the insurance agent who doesn't want shootings in his book of business - could make a difference.  

            www.tapestryofbronze.com

            by chloris creator on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:12:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your clearly graspiing at proverbial straws (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Whatithink

              Looking for a way to prevent something you see as an outrage.  While this is understandable, the insurance mandate won't achieve the desired result.  To quote our infamous Bob Johnson, "this won't work either".  Perhaps it is time to realize that there is nothing realistic that can be done to the gun owning citizens that could have prevented it.

      •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2, Catesby

        You do know that there is firearms liability insurance, and that it does not distinguish between make and model, and that no premium hike occurred after 12/14?  Assessing risk is a matter for actuaries.

      •  Hey - none of us know what the premiums (0+ / 0-)

        would be for liability insurance for an assault weapon. There are two issues regarding insurance. First, insurance will not cover criminal acts so if someone shoots up a school there is no insurance coverage. What insurance can cover is an event where people have civil liability that isn't also criminal, like gun accidents. The second issue is if the insurance was expensive enough to restrict access of the poor to own firearms, I think you would find that insurance requirement challenged in court on the basis of Heller.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:55:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  According to the article this diary is based on.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino
          The insurance industry is wary of some of the proposals to require gun owners to buy liability coverage — and particularly of bills, like one that was filed in New York that would require coverage for damages resulting not only from negligence but also from “willful acts.”
          This will probably be the test case to determine the gun liability insurance issue.

          My guess is that the premiums for handguns would be less than those for assault type weapons.  And like car insurance, premiums could be lowered by safety features on the handgun and education of the gun owner.  So, if insurance for a weapon can be brought down to the $5 to $10 a month range (or less), my guess is that the Heller argument may be minimized.

          I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

          by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:35:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey - looks like a liability marke already exists (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too

            Any insurance for willful acts will have to be managed by the State of New York, no private insurance company would write that policy. According to comments in this thread for civil liability purposes the type of gun isn't a key variable in determining risk and premiums. However, for "willful acts" it might. I agree with you that annual cost will be the key variable regarding insurance and any Heller issues.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:41:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reverse that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too
            My guess is that the premiums for handguns would be less than those for assault type weapons.
            Insurance companies exist to make a profit. And since assault rifles are the least likely firearm to be used in a murder and handguns are the most likely, odds are the insurance cost would reflect this.
            •  It would probably depend on how the insurance... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino

              ... companies perceive the risk.  A weapon like an AR-15 may be rated higher for any number of reasons.

              I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

              by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:54:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Guns themselves cost something (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with you that a right should not be prohibitively burdened by tax or fee schemes, but that's a matter of how you design the insurance requirement.  Subsidy can go a long way towards insuring even lower income gun owners can afford a minimum measure of coverage.  CLCA in California is a model for low cost motor vehicle insurance.

      There are several added benefits for advocates of gun rights.  One, the extra legwork could deter the impulse purchase (for suicide or more nefarious reasons) without burdening legitimate buyers.  Two, an insurance system could be a way to noway2's registryless background check.  Three, too many gun owners are the kind who purchase their weapons and rarely think about their maintenance, storage, and use.  Funny thing is that even those these very casual owners are the kind thieves love to target, they're also the model gun owner for gun control groups--the kind most amenable to new restrictions and the most likely to voluntarily dispose of their firearms.  Maintaining insurance coverage means accepting more responsibility for your weapon, and that could spurn the casual owners to learn more about his firearm and his rights.

    •  no different than owning a car (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, sandblaster

      in many states, you want to use it, you need to insure it.

  •  I'm Not Sure It Works This Way. (5+ / 0-)

    It's when you don't have liability insurance that you can be sued into poverty. When you have insurance it is ideally to cover the victim's loss.

    Seems to me we should make sure legally that owners are economically liable for gun violence by themselves or someone who borrows or takes inadequately secured weapons. In that case I think the insurance industry will step in faster than you can snap your fingers.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:32:47 PM PST

    •  I believe that is the point behind this... (3+ / 0-)

      ... kind of insurance.  Not only to make sure that the victim of the weapon doesn't have to rely on the weapon owner's financial solvency to be compensated for loss or injury, but to make sure that society is not responsible for the loss or injury as well.  In addition, one would imagine that premiums would be lower for people who prove that they are securing their weapons from theft or misuse by others in the household.  Lastly, an owner who has "lost" a weapon, even if it isn't used in a crime, will face steeper premiums the next time he or she tries to purchase a weapon.

      I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

      by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:58:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are concealed carry laws in many states (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandino

        and some of them (Florida) allow you to meet threat with force above and beyond your own fist...

        So where does this insurance help? It doesn't. It's a clever way to start a discussion- but real gun regulation is the domain of government. And insisting on insurance isn't a way to solve the problem- unless the problem is job creation for insurance sales people.

        The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

        by MeToo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:07:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As of 2008 the cost of gun violence to society... (3+ / 0-)

          ... was $100B per year.  Why should you and I pay for that when the gun owners should?  The idea behind insurance is that those costs would come from the pool of money paid for by gun owners, not from local, state, or federal governments.

          I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

          by Hey338Too on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:15:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So then why should that money be funneled (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            noway2, Sandino

            to private insurance companies, and not back into the public good? Sorry, but the onus of insurance is not a progressive response to the problem. Violence is a social and cultural issue that is better understood through philosophy- and probably silly things, like marketing and social media.

            (And please), violence and I are too well acquainted. Money cannot buy and insurance cannot remedy my losses. Solve the mental health issues in our culture and most of the need for gun violence will magically evaporate.

            The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

            by MeToo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:52:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In order to even make sense of this issue (0+ / 0-)

              it would be necessary to establish who these "gun owners" are beyond the abstract.  It is being used, deliberately as an abstract straw man to mean anybody but me and in practice it doesn't hold up or make sense.

          •  Hey - the cost of auto accidents above (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kentucky Kid

            the amounts insured, would dwarf gun violence. Why don't we make make the at fault car drivers pay for it?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:12:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Society should be held responsible. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MeToo

        Crime is a social failing.  Where the solvency of the criminal in dispute, society as a whole should step in to help make the victims whole.  Unfortunately, the United States is woefully inadequate when it comes to victims welfare.

      •  First - find all the guns (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not tellin'.

    •  Its already covered... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noway2

      By household liability insurance.  

      Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

      by DavidMS on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:28:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Insurance companies already have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noway2

      Liability insurance for gun owners has been around for decades.  

      Problem is that liability insurance in general does not cover criminal acts, so it has no bearing on gun violence.  On the other hand, it does have an impact on unintentional and civilly negligent misuse, and I'm all for expanding the pool.

    •  Gooserock - what is the current state of the law? (0+ / 0-)

      If someone is using your firearm with your permission and injures someone or crates some property damage what civil liability do they have today? What if they are using your firearm without your permission?

      If you use a weapon and cause injury or damage, you currently have civil liability in addition to any criminal acts but does any of this liability include the owner of the gun, if it isn't the shooter?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:08:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ya, don't see how insurance will cover... (0+ / 0-)

    all the obvious violations of common sense and criminal laws and still stay in business. Just about every time you hear of a gun going off it's a liability.

    Even IF this were structured like boating or car driving or just insuring valuable items there are incredible problems. I mean, guns aren't just sport, or privilege or value- at the bottom of it they are weapons- a complete liability that could compromise a person's life.

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:39:04 PM PST

    •  Auto insurers are solvent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      Far more traffic accidents, injuries and damages.  And health insurance expenditures make both look like piss in the ocean.

      What insurers won't cover are criminal acts.  Not because they can't financially, but because society abhors this form of profiteering from criminal iniquity.

  •  I think gun ownership insurance is (5+ / 0-)

    an excellent idea! I can see where insurance companies would be joyful, yet very wary, since there is more chance of fatality.

    Gun owners would have additional responsibilities, as I imagine  insurance companies would have to require more assurances of safety,  and more extensive background checks, before insuring.

    The only downside would be for the responsible gun owners who would have an additional costs.

    Either way, I'm pleased to hear talks about this. Thanks for making it a Daily Kos Diary.

    "When faced with darkness, be the light.

    by Leslie Salzillo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:39:07 PM PST

  •  This stemmed from the idea of holding people (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, DavidMS, VClib, theboz, OldSoldier99

    accountable for their actions with guns.  There are several problems with it, one of the biggest was mentioned in the original diary: insurance doesn't cover illegal actions.  A corollary to this is the fact that those who commit illegal activities won't bother.  Consequently, the idea of holding them accountable falls apart.  Only if you believe that gun crime and violence is committed by lawful individuals who go rogue (and statistically this is an exceptionally small number of individuals) would it even have any benefit - and even then we're back to the part about covering illegal activity.   This brings us to the point about accidental injuries for which one is already liable and it pretty well known that having an umbrella policy is a good idea which would cover this.

    This leaves us with the the idea of insurance to cover legal costs associated with legitimate activity, such as justifiable self defence which can be an expensive ordeal.  For these types of events, which are statistically rare, insurance is already available for those who want it.

    On the negative side, there is the problem with substituting "regulation" by private company instead of the govt, which some might see as a way around the 2A issues.  They might also argue the case of health care insurance or car insurances as examples in support of it.  The problem being that the RKBA is a constitutional right (unlike health care and driving) and this has legal ramifications and may make requiring insurance impossible.

    Overall, the idea of having general liability insurance is a good thing, but the idea of using it as a back door form of gun restriction is really a non starter.

    •  I disagree with part of this (5+ / 0-)

      "A corollary to this is the fact that those who commit illegal activities won't bother.  Consequently, the idea of holding them accountable falls apart."

      We don't create ANY legislation or regulations on the premise that if we don't get 100% compliance the effort was a waste of time.

      We create regulations as an incentive to compliance, and I think this would create a big one. Even IF there would still be people that would not consider that a suitable incentive.

      •  What incentive would you offer to Homie G'Banger (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        to buy liability insurance?  

        •  The same one that car insurance does. (4+ / 0-)

          I'm not saying that EVERYONE will comply, but this creates a framework for both responsibility and enforcement that would be useful beyond just the people that aren't going to follow laws.

          •  The ones who follow laws are already liable (0+ / 0-)

            And there is no way to hold those who don't follow laws to any sort of liability.

            •  So? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino

              It is about liability being where it belongs, not universal compliance. Reread my premise: We don't create legislation based on the idea that everyone is going to comply with it. We KNOW some people are going to speed, yet we have speed limits. We KNOW some people are going to shoplift, yet we have shoplifting laws. And on and on...

              Liability rests with EVERY gun owner, not just the illegal ones.

              •  Again, the term "gun owner" needs to be defined (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib, andalusi

                for starters.  Second, exactly how you would hold them liable is another question.  Third, nobody other than the criminal is liable for criminal activity.  To try to argue that because someone owns a gun and criminals commit violence with guns we are going to make those who aren't criminals but choose to own guns liable for the criminals violence is ludicrous.  That is really what this comes down to.  Those who are not criminals are already liable and are already covered by insurance.  You won't achieve further liability compliance with more mandates.

                •  Helps force reporting of stolen guns.... (0+ / 0-)

                  if you are financially responsible for harm done with it.  Lots of "stolen" guns are straw purchase or loans.  This requirement to report is a crime deterrent.

                  You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                  by murrayewv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:17:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No it isn't and it should be apparent why not (0+ / 0-)

                    I think it should be easy to accept that there are at least two categories of gun owners: those who are overall law abiding and honest citizens (this describes most of the population, gun owner or not) and those who are not.  The latter being a wide category too but for simplicity lets say that they are a group of all criminals and generally dishonest people.

                    If we look at these two groups in terms of a gun insurance mandate how much overlap do you think there really is between those two groups.  The honest would report stolen guns either because they want to have a chance to get their property back or because they want to reduce the chance that anyone will do something bad with it.  For these people, insurance is not necessary and is no additional incentive.

                    Now, would the dishonest get insurance and more specifically would it be a (negative) incentive to report it if they lost possession of it?  I would say probably no, but a few might.  Then we come to the deliberately criminal, e.g. straw purchasers who would not only not bother but it would be a disincentive for them because it puts them in the spotlight.  One might think that this would cut down on straw purchases but this is doubtful because they are likely already using a crooked dealer such as the one in Chicago that is responsible for almost all of the illegal purchases.

                    You also mentioned loans.  I've borrowed guns from people and carried them in public concealed.  Both I and the person I borrowed from have permits for this.  Had I done something with that gun, I, not my friend, would have been liable, no insurance required.

                    Ultimately, your comment about requirements and crime deterrent underscores the problem with this approach.  This is not what insurance was meant for, but more importantly it shows the intent to restrict and punish innocent people who choose to exercise a lawful right that you don't agree with it.  This above all else, makes it a no go and we haven't gotten to the legal conundrums yet.

        •  Who is this person? Or do you just mean (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          S F Hippie, Glen The Plumber

          gang members (I guess black males?)

          The law would be the same for them as for you. That's how we do things now...the laws apply to all people equally (even if some people get off due to influence still.) It would be required. You wouldn't get like a check for $20 for complying. No incentive, and you shouldn't be asking for one, anyway. The rest of us follow laws without getting a reward.

          I'm not saying I necessarily favor insurance requirements (interesting, but I'm not sure).

          “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

          by jeff in nyc on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:58:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was referring to gang members (0+ / 0-)

            As well as any number of other criminal and other elements in society.

            This is one of those ideas that on the surface sounds meaningful, but it has little to no practical value at anything other than being an underhanded means of gun restriction.

            •  I have some questions, definitely, but (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not sure it's a bad plan. I would hope that it is obvious that no insurance covers illegal use of anything.

              I was thinking about accidental use of guns. It happens all day every day, and some here have said that homeowner's insurance covers events that take place in the home already. Guns are very dangerous, and are unique among household utensils in that all the rest must pass tons of safety measures against accidents. Fire extinguishers, for example, are meant to stop injury instead of cause it...but the companies that manufacture them can be sued if someone gets accidentally hurt.

              And, indeed, gun owners CAN be sued if someone is accidentally hurt by their guns.

              Obviously, if you intentionally shoot someone, it's a criminal matter, though it could also be a civil one.

              “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

              by jeff in nyc on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:30:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Are you aware (11+ / 0-)

    that liability for firearm accidents such as hunting mishaps and accidental discharges, is already covered by many homeowner's policies? Further, the companies don't even ask about guns? They're more worried about wood stoves and pools.

    No insurance company is going to sell a policy that specifically covers criminal acts by the insured, and I know of no legal principle that would allow the government to force them to do so. And since most victims of gun violence are, by definition, injured due to criminal acts, there would be no payouts.

    This may sound like a good idea, but it falls apart once the nature of insurance--which is meant to indemnify the insured against chance occurrences, not to cover their butts when they commit a crime--is considered.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:06:25 PM PST

    •  Is the proposal discussed here actually (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, noway2, VClib

      talking about covering ILLEGAL acts? Because that's crazy.

      “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

      by jeff in nyc on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:09:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like it... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jeff in nyc, noway2, VClib
        The insurance industry is wary of some of the proposals to require gun owners to buy liability coverage — and particularly of bills, like one that was filed in New York that would require coverage for damages resulting not only from negligence but also from “willful acts.”

        It'll never work...

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:36:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  whoa (0+ / 0-)

      Insurance already builds in fees for illegal acts. The question is who pays for it.

      If someone illegally burns down your house, your homeowners cover that. The only problem is, the victim is paying the cost of that liability. Same as uninsured drivers.

      All this is doing is transferring that "fee" to the gun owners for having a item that does nothing but cause damage.

      GOP- Fact Free since 1981!

      by KingGeorgetheTurd on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:55:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa. (0+ / 0-)

        If I burn down my house, no insurance policy will cover that. Under your theory, owners of gas cans would be paying for the actions of arsonists.

        Again, no insurance company is going to indemnify a person against the consequences of committing a criminal act. Imagine for a moment if the Sandy Hook murderer had a policy that covered the consequences of his actions. The insurance company would be on the hook for untold millions in payouts.

        My present homeowner's policy will pay if I have a negligent accident with a firearm. It will not pay if I decide to shoot my neighbor, or rob a liquor store.

        All this is doing is transferring that "fee" to the gun owners for having a item that does nothing but cause damage.
        No, it puts the insurance company in a position of paying for deliberate criminal acts committed by the insured. Insurance doesn't work that way.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 06:28:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not a bad idea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    There are already options available, though since we're talking about a constitutional right we should provide support to lower income gun owners to acquire affordable insurance.  While it will have no impact on intentional, reckless or criminally negligent misuse of firearms--insurance simply will not cover that--it will provide funding mechanism for injury and mortality due to wholly unintentional or civilly negligent acts.

  •  NRA sponsors Self-Defense Insurance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, Glen The Plumber

    I guess you could call it "Stand Your Ground" insurance.

    Here's a description:

    What's Covered:

    • Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.

    • Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.

    • Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.

    •  This insurance.... (0+ / 0-)

      would give an estimate of how many self defense acts are really self defense vs shoot outs between two individuals seeking to harm each other.  This has lead Florida to reduce prosecutions for some categories of gang related violence.  Make those folks get self defense insurance!

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:23:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences. (7+ / 0-)

    First of all, no insurance carrier anywhere in the world will insure illegal acts.  Just cannot buy it.  

    Second.  The NRA provides liability/personal injury coverage at a very affordable rate.  Mandating insurance beyond what a homeowner's policy covers will force people into joining the NRA who actually hate the NRA.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:09:54 PM PST

    •  That assume (0+ / 0-)

      No other insurance company will step in to offer it.... and I think that greatly underestimates the greed of insurance companies. :)

    •  I'm unclear whether anyone is proposing (0+ / 0-)

      such a thing as insurance for the illegal use of a gun (car, boat, etc.)

      Maybe the diarist can chime in?

      “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

      by jeff in nyc on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:25:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Insurance can cover illegal acts. (0+ / 0-)

        There are lots of situations where insurance covers intentional and illegal acts if the benefits are not going to the person who does the illegal act.  Car insurance in some states not including Texas is required to pay even if the car owner hits someone on purpose.  Your bank gets paid for your mortgage if you burn your house down and go to jail for arson in most cases.  Then your insurance company sues you.  Businesses often have a "separation of interests" clause and get paid for illegal acts done by their employees if they are liable.  Etc, etc.

  •  Also, don't expect surcharges on "worst" guns. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    Seeing as the market is thoroughly dominated by semiautomatic handguns and bolt-action hunting rifles, actuaries have no incentive to deal with outliers, which is why the policies are agnostic about a firearm's make.  What's more important is where you live, how you store your firearms and ammunition, whether or not you carry, etc.  Those are considerably more useful indicators for assessing risk than whether or not someone finds a particular gun scary.

  •  Guess what RkBR's say it won't work. They contend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    there is absolutely no way to control guns.

    Insuring an uncontrollable kindergarten killer device would require quite a premium.

    Maybe require people with paranoid delusions to pay handsomely for gun ownership. Maybe require people with sloppy gun handling practices to pay handsomely for gun ownership. Maybe require people with no gun skills to pay handsomely for gun ownership.

    Remember when I shoot off my mouth, it's not like RkBAer shooting off their arm. Guns are not for controlling classroom size or car handling suggestions, or disputing wrongful termination.  Guns can't control situations, neither can they be controlled by the unwilling.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:31:33 PM PST

    •  I was going to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theboz, Kentucky Kid

      reply to this post, but upon further review, it is complete nonsense... so nevermind...

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:43:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

      I highly doubt RkBR (did you mean RKBA) people say that.  

      •  You need do nothing, you need know nothing, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandino

        you need no special skills or storage.  Guns are fun.  NRA is play time.  

        There are no strings attached and you pay nothing for this benefit.
        Gosh all of the rights and none of the responsibilities.  That's like a 19 year old.  Perfect.

        guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

        by 88kathy on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:01:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

          Up to $2500.  Which you get through paying membership fees.  If you want additional coverage, you have to pay.  However, you seem to be under the impression that RKBA is opposed to insuring firearms against certain misuse.  As you see, that's not true.  Glad I could clear that up for you.  You're welcome.

    •  kathy - I don't think that's what they are writing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noway2

      I read them making three basic points:

      1. You can't insure criminal acts so there can be no insurance that covers gun violence.
      2. There is an active civil liability market serving gun owners.
      3. The civil liability market does not view the type of weapon owned as a significant risk factor and other variables are more predictive of future claims.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:13:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Offering no solution, only saying everything is (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fblau, TheFern, Sandino, MeToo

        fine, guns are fun, there is nothing that can be done to encourage gun owners to step up and actually control their guns.

        It only seems like there is no answer.  RkRAers have no intention of finding an answer.  The love the gun violence and will shoot down any discussion.

        There is no other possession that is only for killing.  If they are uncontrollable and un-insurable, maybe they should be un-ownable.

        guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

        by 88kathy on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:22:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  kathy I don't believe that our RKBA members (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          noway2

          love gun violence. I have never read anything that even suggests that. In addition, I think most of them support universal background checks and a more robust data base to check against, the two new gun control measures most likely to be passed by the 113th Congress.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 11:41:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How does this control guns? (5+ / 0-)

    Point 1:
    If I fail to pay car, boat, cycle or whatever insurance, what the insurance is on is not confiscated, I merely may no longer have that item out and about in public places.

    If the diarist is proposing that if someone has gun insurance, this grants them permission to carry in public or is required to carry in public, that is one thing. A concealed carry permit requiring it, for instance. I'm not sure it would work, but it is at least consistent with the vehicle insurance model.

    But, if they are proposing that you need insurance to simply own a firearm and that if you do not pay it, they come and take your gun away, that's requiring a fee to exercise a right (and as long as DC vs. Heller stands, it is a right) and will probably fare in court about as well as a poll tax would.

    Point 2:
    Given the huge number of unregistered guns out there, how exactly is it going to be enforced on the existing tens or hundreds of millions of firearms that have no registration? Saying "you are required to register all your guns so we can make you pay a fee on them every year" is probably not going to generate universal compliance and threatening dire penalties for non-compliance makes it a non-starter in Congress (where even a universal background check is going to be hard-fought). Plus, such a forced registration falls into the category of an ex post facto law, again unlikely to fly in the courts, and any attempt to do so would probably be stayed until it made it all the way to the Supremes, and you can guess how they would rule (at least today).

    Point 3:
    It has absolutely no utility against someone who is not legally able to have a gun in the first place or who is intending to use one in a criminal fashion.

    •  Start at the top (0+ / 0-)

      Best way is to require insurance for each gun from the manufacturer have a rule that the only an insurer can give up responsibility is if a new insurer (contracted by a buyer in most cases) takes it up.  Stays in effect if the gun is lost or stolen.  That way there is always an insurer to pay.

      •  Does not seem workable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2

        I don't think that a law which says "an insurance company can't drop a customer" is going to pass any sort of legal challenge. Not dropping it during the contracted policy duration, sure. But not being able to say "we don't want to renew your policy"? That's going to get challenged in court out the yin-yang.

        •  read your homeowmners policy (0+ / 0-)

          or 3rd party liability on uninsured drivers for car insurance. It is built in fees that provide for damages incurred with out fault, 3rd party insurance is nothing new. So why not have the owner or the manufacturer carry that same liability?

          GOP- Fact Free since 1981!

          by KingGeorgetheTurd on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:39:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because it has nothing to do with the manufacturer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andalusi

            It would be like making Ford a mandatory 3rd party insurer in case I was in a drunk driving accident. My homebuilder does not have to cover me in case of flood, nor does my homeowner's policy stipulate that even if I stop making payments, they have to keep insuring me.

            The point is that if I don't make my car insurance payments, I don't lose my car. If a person fails to make their gun insurance payments, what happens?

            As long as DC vs. Heller stands, individual gun ownership is a right, and you cannot make having that right contingent on paying a fee (e.g. poll taxes).

  •  Don't need insurance to own a car, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz, Kentucky Kid

    if you don't drive on public roads.

    They're asking for insurance to cover a criminal act.

    Yet more legislative circle-jerking that favors wealth.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:28:00 PM PST

    •  You should have insurance to own a gun (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingGeorgetheTurd

      because it can be stolen or lost and turn up to injure or kill some one.  Several hundred thousand guns are stolen each year.  Not so common with cars.  You could argue that insurance should continue to cover stolen cars that injure people.  

      •  The way I store my guns (0+ / 0-)

        the likelihood of their being stolen approaches zero, and I think that an effective public awareness campaign would drastically reduce the number of thefts and accidents.

        It is the primary responsibility of every gun owner to safely secure their weapons.

        I want proactive solutions, not reactive penalties.

        I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

        by wretchedhive on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:11:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again, you're trying to put liability (0+ / 0-)

        for one person's actions on another person.  This is wrong.

  •  Apparently not a frivolous claim: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandino
    Plea made in Poway teen's shooting death  

    By J. Harry Jones | Feb. 20, 2013

    SAN DIEGO — Fifteen months after Poway teenager Luke Lipscomb apparently shot himself in the face with a .22-caliber rifle while high on synthetic drugs, the adult who left the loaded rifle in his kitchen has pleaded guilty to a rarely charged crime.

    Kevin Brennick, 50, pleaded guilty in San Diego Superior Court Wednesday morning to a misdemeanor of leaving a loaded firearm within a house in an area where a minor could access it resulting in death or serious injury to the child. It is only the fourth time the District Attorney’s Office has pursued such a charge...

    Crowley said the Lipscombs are involved in settlement talks concerning civil litigation. The insurance companies are working out details of an agreement, he said.

    On YouTube:

    Homeowner Kevin Brennick accepts plea deal on firearm charge...

    (embed not available)

  •  Guns and Painkillers (0+ / 0-)

    Rather than insurance why not a tax on guns and also on painkillers???

    In my state abuse of painkillers and gun shot cost medicaid tons of money especially OD's.

     I think that the state should levy a tax on guns and any painkillers or tranquilizers  and that money should be earmarked for  medicaid.

    OD is the leading cause of death for those under 45 in my state.

  •  Anything that would (0+ / 0-)

    require gun owners to take responsibility for their guns is a good thing.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:05:59 AM PST

  •  Don't start celebrating yet (0+ / 0-)

    What will happen is the NRA will offer the insurance along with membership.  They already insure gun ranges and many gun clubs (most??) with ranges require NRA membership just because of the insurance.  An educated guess tells me this will be a boon to NRA membership rolls.

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