If approved, a recent measure announced in California would make it the first state to require gun owners to buy liability insurance to cover accidental or negligent use of their firearms.
Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner commented that “[g]uns kill more people than cars. Yet gun owners are not required to carry liability insurance like car owners must.” She also stated that the costs of gun violence should no longer be borne by taxpayers, survivors, families, employers, and communities. Instead, it is time for gun owners to shoulder their share of that burden. Skinner is also working on amending another bill to allow gun owners to be held civilly liable if their firearms are used to cause property damage, injury or death.
Opponents of the bill argue that no insurance company will cover the misuse of a firearm, and that insurance requirements are an illegal infringement on gun owners’ constitutional rights.
California lawmakers are considering numerous firearms measures this year, including one that would allow private citizens to sue illegal weapons traffickers, and one that would make it easier to sue gun-makers.
Editor’s Note: Insurance is often brought up as a possible partial solution to the issue of gun violence. What is often misunderstood is that insurance will not pay for an intentional shooting – intentional acts are excluded, and a school or other mass shooting event is not accidental. Insurance could provide some benefits for accidental shootings, such as children getting ahold of unlocked firearms, but there is no way to provide insurance for the intentional murdering of other people.
In January 2022, Silicone Valley city San Jose approved what is believed to be the first such insurance requirement in the United States. You can read more about that ordinance, and the specific insurance coverage discussed, in the following article, written by our colleagues over at FC&S. City May Soon Require Gun Owners to Buy Insurance Coverage.