Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) has introduced a bill, HR-2546, to require insurance for firearm transfers again in the congress. The bill has been co-sponsored by representatives: Blumenauer (OR-3), Clark (MA-5), Grijalva (AZ-3), Lynch (MA-8), McGovern (MA-2), Rangel (NY-13), and Tsongas (MA-3). It is a requirement for liability insurance for sales of firearms. As introduced it does not specify the amount of insurance required or the parties to be protected by the insurance.
This blog has pointed out many times the limitations of the liability insurance model for protecting victims of gun violence; but many people easily see the parallels between the car insurance requirement and the need for gun insurance. Liability insurance, as implemented in various states for the protection of people injured by cars, is often modified by the provisions of a mandate to be in a form which, while called liability insurance, is really based on some other insurance system. These systems are typically called no-fault insurance or personal injury protection as well as being nominally called liability insurance. They pay benefits directly to victims.
One of the good models for gun insurance is found in the requirement for a personal injury protection endorsement to car insurance in Rep. Maloney’s own state, New York. It is codified in New York Regulation 68. This provides for persons not covered by their own insurance (such as most pedestrians) a requirement for no-fault benefits which are paid directly to first parties (injured persons).
Suggested New Text for Bill
The text of HR-2546 with the provision of a personal injury protection requirement, adds a clause “(C) contains a personal injury protection enforcement,” and defines the endorsement in an added Section:
SEC. 3. PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION ENDORSEMENT
(a) Coverage – the personal injury protection endorsement shall provide that the insurer issuing the policy will pay first-party benefits to reimburse for basic economic loss sustained by an person on account of death or injury arising out of the use of the firearm by any person regardless of whether the person has a legal right to use the firearm or the permission of the owner of the firearm. The coverage of the endorsement shall extend to injuries occurring until the earlier of:
(1) replacement of the coverage of the firearm by another insurer and,
(2) five years after loss, theft or uninsured transfer of the firearm.
(b) In this section the term basic economic loss means:
(1) Medical expense consisting of necessary expenses to a maximum amount of $200,000 for:
(a) medical, hospital, surgical, nursing, dental, ambulance, X-ray, prescription drug and prosthetic services;
(b) psychiatric, physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation;
(c) any other professional health services;
(2) Work loss consisting of the following losses and expenses, up to a maximum payment of $5,000 per month for a maximum period of five years from the date of the injury:
(a) loss of earnings from work which the injured person would have performed had such person not have been injured,
(b) loss of earnings from work which would have been performed by another person but was not performed to allow care for the injured person, and
(c) reasonable and necessary expenses sustained by the injured person in obtaining services in lieu of those which such person would have performed for income; and
(3) A death benefit of $100,000 upon the death of any person arising out of the use of the firearm payable to the estate of such person.
Differences from New York Regulation 68
The New York Regulation for cars contains a number of limitations for persons to be covered that relate to New York’s requirement that benefits be first paid by an injured persons own insurance which is required for vehicle licensure. That and other exclusions which relate to car ownership, residency and other factors not relevant to firearms have been removed.
Because one of the greatest dangers of gun possession to the public is that the guns may fall into irresponsible hands, the amendment provides for continuation of coverage for up to five years, if the firearm is lost, stolen or transferred without new insurance.
Because motor vehicles cause large numbers of injuries and cause injuries which are less clearly defined that typical gun wounds, required car insurance has in most states including New York been severely limited in the maximum payments. This would be much less of a problem for guns and the insurance monetary limits listed, while far from generous, have been modernized.
This would be a good plan of insurance to protect victims of gun violence. Gun Insurance Blog would greatly welcome the amending of HR-2546 with this language or other language which similarly directly pays benefits to persons who are injured by guns and the adoption of the bill.