Gun Liability Laws

Listening to the radio today I heard a reasonable suggestion for the control of guns in this country which removes the problem of being associated with government control. Furthermore, the capitalists should greatly benefit from the suggestion since it will open up a new revenue stream for the insurance industry.

It’s reasonably simple: do not restrict guns but make it a requirement to maintain liability insurance on each gun. This would be controlled by the insurance industry. Costs would, like all insurance, be based on the liability being insured; in other words, if you are a certified gun enthusiast, the insurance will be inexpensive, but if you have instances of domestic violence on your police record, the insurance might be so expensive that it makes gun ownership prohibitive. It is reasonable to assume the insurance companies will need to maintain a complete database to identify the guns they insure but since the government will not provide this function, there will be no objection (after all, the most comprehensive database of gun owners is at the NRA and no one complains about that).

The Nation alerted me to this article from the Washington Post. The complete editorial is recommended.

The Case For Gun Liability Laws

By Katrina vanden Heuvel, Tuesday, September 24


Knives. Automobiles. Cold medicine. Alcohol. Cigarettes. Coffee.

What do these items have in common?

They’re all held to a higher safety standard than firearms.

Because of product-liability law, manufacturers must equip them with proper warnings, limitations and built-in designs that enhance their safety.

If they don’t, consumers can sue them for harm caused by the product. And all consumer products manufacturers are required to ensure that their products are free of design defects and don’t threaten public safety.

Guns, as Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project has said, are “the only consumer product in America with no federal safety oversight.”

Firearms haven’t always been a protected class; but as the industry lost millions in lawsuits over the years, liability protection became the NRA’s holy grail. …

The NRA will paint product liability legislation as a threat to law-abiding gun owners. After all, guns are meant to injure and kill. But gun manufacturers could control distribution enough to prevent guns from entering the criminal market.

When the government is worried that you might use that second bottle of NyQuil to cook meth, it’s not unreasonable to ask why someone needs to buy 15 assault rifles in one sitting.

Washington’s shameful cowardice aside, there are leaders across the country who have courageously done the right thing, paying a political price so that innocent Americans don’t have to pay the ultimate price. As Sen. Giron said of her experience, “Today, Colorado is safer because of the laws we passed. I have no regrets about that.”

If more of our elected officials were inspired by her example, we might all have fewer regrets.

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