Require all gun owners to carry liability insurance on every gun they own.
The most obvious benefit comes by way of compensation to victims. I know money can never make up for the damage a gun can do, but compensation is not an insignificant matter. Consider someone who is paralyzed, or left brain-damaged, or permanently disabled by a gun. That victim would be assured of having things like ramps, and nurses aids, and whatever other therapies he required, guaranteed for his lifetime. Currently, unless the locality has a “Victim Fund,” a shooting victim receives only the benefits his own medical insurance or Medicaid provides, and medical insurance does not include things like home modifications for a wheelchair, or hand controls for cars. The insurance companies wanting to participate in this new, no doubt lucrative market, could also be required to create a fund to take care of victims injured by uninsured guns, making sure anyone hurt by a gun has a recourse to whatever services they require.
Because money is always a great motivator, another benefit of insuring guns is that it would change the behavior of some less than vigilant gun owners. People who leave loaded guns in the bedside table might reconsider that habit, since they are on the hook for a sizable deductible if someone gets hold of their gun and hurts someone else. Insurance companies would no doubt give policy discounts for gun owners who buy trigger locks or gun safes. Premiums would reflect the gun owners’ risk factors, like arrest and psychiatric histories. The more guns you own, the more it will cost. In other words, the market, so loved by the Right, just might cause gun owners to amass fewer guns and to be more careful with the ones they own.
Finally, mandatory gun insurance would result in a legal way to get guns out of the hands of our least reliable and most dangerous gun owners. Honest citizens who want to hunt, or shoot competitively, or protect their home or business will comply with the law and buy insurance. Those with less honorable intentions will not. But police would be able to confiscate any gun they find that is uninsured. I’d like to make such confiscations permanent. Don’t step up and insure your gun? Lose it forever.
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