While it would be ideal to have a gun insurance adopted at a single time as one well designed national mandate, it’s likely that political reality will force it to come into being in stages. The logical place to start is for the more amenable states to require insurance for holders of permits to carry firearms in public. If this can be extended to general coverage of guns in some of these states, the stage is set for a federal mandate for top-down insurance which extends into any state requiring insurance. This in turn will encourage other states to have their own requirements in order not to have their citizens paying for insurance without their state receiving benefits for victims.
Concealed Carry as a Start and an End in Itself
Mandating gun insurance for holders of permits to carry weapons in public is much simpler than mandating gun insurance in general. Permit holders are already registered with state government agencies; there is no need for an additional registration system. They are generally responsible people who have already shown their willingness to cooperate with reasonable regulations. Insurers will find these people to be desirable customers. Most measures to deal with gun violence have to deal with the flood of illegal weapons that come from states with weak regulation of gun trafficking. But, states requiring insurance for permits can simply refuse to recognize permits from other states without insurance requirements or require proof of insurance in addition to such a permit.
There are many similarities between motor vehicles and guns, because they both have a built in danger but are present in our society. There are also important differences in the way they are used and the situation surrounding that use. The specific top down, no-fault system of insurance being analyzed in this blog is intended to deal with these differences.
1. The vast majority of car deaths and injuries are accidents; intentional injury with a car is rare. The majority of shootings are intentional whether or not they constitute crimes.
Ben Achtenberg has an article in the Caring for Survivors of Torture blog titled “We Already Have a Way to Cut Gun Deaths.” It makes the case for treating gun ownership with the same standards of responsibility as cars in detail and with strength. He points out our willingness to accept driving tests, licensing, training and mandatory insurance for automobiles. He shows that these are support the use and ownership of cars and that the “the insurance industry has a vested interest in developing regulations and price points that will not unduly discourage car ownership and use.” He then rhetorically asks if there any chance of that happening and answers “In the United States of today, not a snowball’s chance in hell.”
He then goes on to talk about how an insurance system would work on a conventional liability model. He discusses licensing, regulation, market price differences based on risks and insurance prices being affected by safe practices and good records. He supports insurance as a part of universal regulation.
He does not discuss the other models of insurance other than to say that one reader suggested that a surety bond for paying injured parties could replace or supplement insurance. This is a well thought out article and gives a valuable list of links for Related Reading.