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What We Can Do About Guns, Right Now: Mandatory Insurance

You might remember when I first wrote about this.

Sorry if you've heard me rant about this before. But we've had, what, four mass shootings in the past two weeks? Did I miss any?

There are things we can do that don't infringe on what people see as their Second Amendment rights.

Restore Tort Liability To The Gun Industry.

Dear God, this is a no-brainer. This was on the NRA wish list for a very long time, and they finally got it. Now it's time to fix it. I wrote then:

The politicians who voted for that awful bill are careful to present it as "common sense" and "fair." They also like to use the hammer analogy: "If someone murders someone with a hammer, is it fair to sue the company that made the hammers?" This is several layers of bullshit, and the first is that this is an NRA talking point. It's been on their handouts for years, so naturally they share it with the politicians to whom they donated.

Second: Since when is it the job of Congress to carve out special protections for one industry in our legal system? We didn't like it when states passed damage caps on malpractice cases under the guise of keeping insurance premiums low. (It didn't work.) Why on earth is it "fair" to exempt an entire industry from being sued, except under very narrow conditions? The courts are the only real tool We The People have left, and even that right has been steadily eroded.

A Modest Proposal: What If We Required Mandatory Gun Insurance? Here's what I first wrote, back in 2011:

First of all, this isn't my idea. It's my oldest son's, and he told me about it a few years ago when he was trying to figure out a way he could make money.

He said it made more sense to sidestep the entire gun control controversy and instead pass state laws that require anyone who owns a gun to carry insurance. If they have risk factors (like teenagers in the house), their rates go up. If one of their kids sneaks a gun out of the house and gets caught, or uses it to commit a crime, the insurance gets canceled for some meaningful period of time -- say, 10 years.


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And if someone steals your gun and you don't report it in a 24-hour window of you finding out, your insurance is suspended for a long time.

If you have a rifle and it's only used for hunting, low rates. If you have a Glock and you carry it in an open-carry town or state, your rates will be very high -- because odds are so much higher that innocent bystanders may get caught in a shootout.

The more training and safety classes you take, the cheaper the premium.

If you've ever been convicted of domestic abuse or were the target of a protection order, you are not eligible for insurance.

Homeowners could be required to carry gun insurance as long as they're still paying on a mortgage, because a gun accident or misuse could result in a large legal judgment against the house.

You can also limit the sale of ammo to someone who shows their insurance card.

We have a lot of data about gun risk. Let the underwriters figure out how much of a risk a gun owner is, because they're the ones who would have to pay out. Imagine, no more GoFundMes for the victims of gun violence. If you're going to put other people at risk, you'll have to buy the insurance that covers their bills -- or their funerals.

States have proposed gun insurance before. It's time to try to push it across the finish line.

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