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Solve it with Insurance and the Free Market

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  • Solve it with Insurance and the Free Market

    Yah, so one of da new proposals makin' da rounds, which I caught over at The Economist, is to address gun regulation by simply requiring liability insurance.

    That's a fairly conservative, free-market approach, eh? No excess government regulation. Just a requirement that gun owners/users have insurance to cover da costs that would otherwise be borne by society for da exercise of that liberty.

    Then da private actuarial market can decide who to insure. A responsible hunter with a hunting rifle could get cheap rates. An out-of-work fellow prepping for da end of civilization who wanted a cache of assault weapons would have to pay substantially more. Keep your gun secure, your rates would be lower than if yeh needed to sleep with it loaded or carried it around in your purse that yeh leave unattended regularly. If CCW permit holders really are safe, then da insurance rates would be low.

    States could enact such a thing easily; quite a few do so for auto insurance. Da feds would have to show compelling public interest, but that's a hurdle that may well pass muster.

    Seems like all of us who use firearms on a hobbyist basis would be fine havin' insurance as just a matter of personal responsibility.

    In this context a buyback program makes more sense, eh? Don't want insurance or can't afford it, da government will be a buyer of last resort if yeh can't sell your gun to anybody else.

    (This message has been edited by Beavah)

  • #2
    Do you think this will really work?

    Someone illegally obtaining a gun will not bother purchasing insurance.

    It just puts a hurdle in front of legal responsible buyers.


    • #3
      Sorry our rights don't require liability insurance, not even freedom of speech.


      • #4
        I posted it just to stir up some discussion, NealOnWheels.

        Da point in some of da proposals is that da legal owner of the firearm is responsible, no matter who he loans it to (same as for cars), or who has acquired it illegally (a novel notion which creates new law).

        So in other words, da risk of theft or loss is factored into da insurance cost. Keep your gun well secured, your cost will be lower. Be a gun show merchant who routinely allows guns to fall off da back of the truck and into other people's hands, your insurance cost might be prohibitive.

        Now, as I mention da notion of holdin' folks responsible for theft of a stolen item is novel, and new law. Typically, that sort of risk is borne by da population and addressed through regulation and/or taxation. But folks seem adverse to both regulation and taxation, so this provides da free market alternative.

        Sorry our rights don't require liability insurance, not even freedom of speech.

        But we teach all of our scouts that every right comes with responsibility, eh?

        So yeh have to meet da responsibility in some way. With freedom of speech, if yeh misuse it by slandering someone, you are personally liable. If yeh misuse it in other ways that cause harm, yeh may be criminally liable. Our tax dollars fund ACLU attorneys who successfully defend our free speech rights.

        Where's da responsibility part that goes with Amendment 2? Yeh don't want tax, yeh don't want regulation, yeh don't want training and a chain of command like a real militia, yeh don't want to keep your arms secured.

        Rights are not free, eh? They demand responsibility. As enthusiasts or hobbyists, we can't foib off da cost of our hobby on da rest of society.

        advocatus diaboli
        (This message has been edited by Beavah)


        • #5
          With rights come responsibilities. Very sensible. But the next thing you know we'll be saying that there is a responsibility that comes with the right to vote, such as by showing who you are or bothering to register. And we all know that's just crazy talk, eh?


          • #6
            Nah, that's just bureaucracy, Brewmeister.

            Responsibility would be that yeh actually have done da research on da candidates and ballot issues before yeh enter the polling place. Or maybe that yeh can pass da citizenship/naturalization test, so yeh at least understand how your voting fits within da system.



            • #7
              Requiring voters to be trained and licensed is a regulation I could definitely get behind.

              But I've hijacked your thread just to make a apologies.


              • #8

                That is already in place. If I misuse a firearm, I can have civil lawsuits and criminal charges filed. So there is a mechanism. It is the same as free speech, which has penalties for misuse. So those exist. What you are proposing could be seen in free speech terms as requiring liability insurance to make any utterance in public, to post on the internet, to draw, or express oneself in any public manner. Limiting our Bill of Rights is dangerous and should be done with great caution. Once again, the evidence is that higher gun ownership correlates with lower violent crime. The problem is the mental health system.
                Once when a resident, there was a paranoid schizophrenic who had been put on the street because the left doesn't want terribly mentally ill folks in mental hospitals and the right wants to save money. It was winter and freezing outside, so he went to a shelter. His paranoia got the better of him and he killed another man in the shelter. He received minor injuries in the fracas so was brought to the ER when arrested. He was talking about non-existent things and was clearly a severely paranoid schizophrenic. The ER physician wrote the commitment orders and the police took him to the local psychiatric hospital. It takes two MD's to involuntarily commit someone. The police listened to him babble incoherently on the way to the psych hospital. They left him with the psych MD. So a florid paranoid schizophrenic whose illness had caused him to kill for no real reason another human being. The psych doctor let him go because he didn't meet admission criteria! (The police should have stayed to be certain of the outcome but he was so 'crazy' that they could not conceive that he would not be committed). Is there a recent mass killer who was normal? Quit trying to rob people of their rights but address the real issues.


                • #9
                  Well, vol_scouter, if da risk is really as low as for speaking, or as low as yeh claim for other reasons, then insurance should be very cheap and easily available on da free market, and no burden to rights or freedoms at all.

                  I reckon there's no problem with someone not buyin' insurance, provided they can demonstrate sufficient financial resources to be able to cover any claims. Dick Cheney gets a bye. Da issue is we don't want anyone who may incur liability but then be judgment-proof because of inability to cover da actual cost of the harm done. If yeh want da freedom, yeh should demonstrate that yeh can meet da responsibilities.

                  Not much different than scouts, eh? Scouting is reasonably safe, but when we accidentally burn down a forest or harm a kid, we have insurance to cover da harm done. Just seems responsible.



                  • #10
                    Well, if you are going to compare it car insurance..... I have a 1970 Chevelle worth over $7,000. I pay about $80 a year full coverage to cover it for $10,000 (agreed value not estimated value). The Chevelle is rarely driven, but I would be limited to 5,000 miles a year if I chose to drive it more.

                    The curio semi auto's I have (several 50 years old) would have similar rates compared to the new "black guns", which can be viewed like a daily driver.

                    If your proposal was picked up, my curios would just increase in value more... matter of fact, my Black Powder rifles would probably net an increase as well.

                    I am considering taking up selling insurance... seems like the "honest people" would be funding my kids college education.
                    (This message has been edited by dg98adams)


                    • #11
                      Thanks to this thread I am now getting GEICO ads in my banners. Well done!


                      • #12
                        You're 180 out of phase, Beav. Exclude fire arms from coverage and watch gun safe sale go through the roof.

                        Besides, your proposition supposes there is civil liability in irresponsible gun ownership.


                        • #13
                          Yah, TwoCubDad, I'm pretty sure da proposition is dependent on establishing a doctrine of strict liability for gun ownership.


                          • #14
                            To get back to the original proposition. At first glance I like it and it appears fair. It seems rational so I suspect Wayne LaPierre will never go for it...

                            I wonder if a similar approach to insurance may happen with texting drivers...


                            • #15
                              The only reason we need auto insurance legally is to drive on the public roads (yes, most lenders require it, but that's a different issue). To use that same analogy with guns, you would require insurance for carrying the gun in public or off of your own property. (Auto insurance (or driver's license or registration) is not required to drive on one's own property).