May 1, 2013 OP/ED
by Paul Tetrault of National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) claiming again there can’t be insurance for intentional acts.
April 5, 2013 Huffington Post Blog: Rep. Carolyn Maloney: “Inaction on Gun Safety: Unacceptable and Unaffordable. Defends her two bills on Gun Trafficking and Gun Insurance.
April 4, 2013 What Am I Missing Here: “Mandatory Gun Insurance.” Rant against insurance. Blames III’s Robert Hartwig (no friend of gun insurance) as “insurance Mafia consiglierie”
April 4, 2013 Forbes Blog: Personal FInance: John Wasik: “Gun Insurance: An Economic Argument” Advocates Insurance, looks at current proposed legislation.
April 3, 2013 Rep. Carolyn Maloney Statement on Death Threats Over Legislation Requiring Gun Owners to Have Insurance
When a proposal for requiring insurance for guns is put into a blog discussion, many of the strong pro-gun advocates reacting to the post base their objection on rights as they assume they have them from the second amendment to the US Constitution. These assumptions can be very broad. And I see statements such as “what other rights do you have to pay for?” and “paying for gun insurance is like a Poll Tax.”
Well, I see us paying taxes on the means necessary to exercise a right all the time. Look at your phone bill, it’s full of taxes on a means to communicate. You have a right to travel, but pay taxes on cars and on air and rail tickets.
Poll taxes are really obnoxious, especially the way they were historically used, but they were not found to be unconstitutional until a specific amendment (The 24th Amendment to the US Constitution) was adopted. There is no similar amendment for gun rights. It’s interesting that rather heavy taxes for automatic weapons have never been found to be unconstitutional.
District of Columbia v. Heller is a very narrow decision in itself. It only overturns an extremely restrictive law that totally prohibits gun ownership. Later the court extended it to state laws in another case, McDonald v. Chicago. Since then lots of restrictions on gun use and ownership have been upheld by state courts. Whether the Supreme Court will strike a broader range of gun restrictions in the future is unknown. While lots has been written by legal scholars about the subject, the future path of this law will probably be determined by political considerations. Heller was supported by 5 justices with a strong dissent by 4 justices. It’s possible that it could be rolled back to the old view that any right to bear arms did not apply to individuals or it’s possible that it could be broadened.
As far as insurance is concerned, the system supported by this blog only requires regulations applied to the manufacturer of guns. Any requirement that the insurance be transferred to the subsequent owner, as would be needed to let the manufacturer’s insurer relinquish responsibility, would be a private contract.
On Jan 26, 2013 according to the Pennsylvania State Police 50 guns were stolen from the Taylor and Robbins Gun shop which had been closed for about six years but still had old stock on the location. Two burglers broke in and escaped in a vehicle.
Nearly all of the guns that are in illegal hands or used in crimes in the United States started out as legal guns and by some means passed out of the control of their legal owners. Many of these are due to purchases by straw buyers acting for an inelegible person but many others are due to loss or theft. If an insurance company was still responsible for these guns, it’s very unlikely that they would remain for six years in such a vulnerable situation.
We’re not taking guns seriously in this country, insurance is a big step to becoming responsible.
Writing about No-Fault gun insurance that provides an incentive for each successive owner to have insurance, one of the most common concerns in the comments was that insurance would protect criminals and wrongdoers.
Defenders of gun rights in articles and comments often seem to be writing from an assumption that the typical person who is shot is some sort of intruder or attacker who ran into the unexpected self-defense by an armed good guy. They often complain that media don’t cover such events. I don’t see much evidence, especially convincing evidence, to back that up. For example, Kleck and Gertz’s famous 1994 Survey claimed that there were about 2.5 Million incidents in which victims used guns in self-defense. Many of the loose figures in circulation come from this number. It was calculated by applying a 1.366% positive response on the survey to the estimated 190.5 Million households. This method has received a lotof criticism because of the likely possibility that no matter how low the real number was it only took a very small percentage of persons surveyed answering falsely to make up 1.336%. I expect you could get that many people to claim just about anything you want (say that they had ridden on a flying saucer in the last year) if you are taking that kind of a survey.
It’s really hard to get recent good figures on the nature of the shootings. Real data on most issues comes from government agencies collecting it from local sources and using their powers as part of federal government to insure that it is reported to them with a good bit of completeness and with consistent methods. That process has been shut down by political processes that oppose collection of data and examination of the subject. See Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH and Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH “Silencing the Science on Gun Research” in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
So I’m looking at the log of news reports of gun deaths which you can get by following @GunDeaths on Twitter or use the excellent page on Slate which tracks it. I read the last 50 deaths reports as of this morning (January 8, 2010) and found that 7 were shooting by police, 1 was an accident, 2 suicides and 4 that were murder components of a murder/suicide. The rest were just plain murders by bad guys. It’s a pretty small sample but easily big enough to show that self-defense by innocent parties must not be common, in order to have it not appear at all. It’s likely that local media don’t usually report suicides; but it’s hard to imagine, they wouldn’t jump on the high reader interest that a real self-defense shooting would have. So I’m concluding that when a through study is done that gun insurance would not be protecting attackers killed in self-defense by legal gun owners. It does leave the question of whether, persons killed by police should be covered. I do imagine that there would be a resistance to insurance investigations to discover whether a person killed by police was actually committing a crime.
Crossposted to guninsuranceblog
There have been a number of articles published in the last week or so about the need for requiring liability for gun insurance.
Robert Cyran and Reynolds: Holding Congress Should Pushfor Mandatory Gun Insurance
This article is largely concerned with the constitutionality of such regulation and lists reasons why it might be.
This article argues for market-based risk pricing and gives general information about attitudes toward gun regulation in the US and about actual regulation in other countries.
Douglas Cohn: Gunowner insurance would ensure responsibility
Cohn discusses NRA power is resisting regulation and argues for insurance.
We need more than simple discussion of the advantages and barriers to gun insurance. We need analysis of the possible means to achieve an actual system in place that protects persons who are injured with guns.
Guns are like cars–something with a built in danger which we have for better or worse to have around in our society. But, with cars, we have a system for responsibility; the most important element is insurance to insure those who are hurt can be compensated. This blog will look at some ways to accomplish this for guns.