Liability insurance for their firearms - USA's solution?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by billcosby, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    I find this fascinating... is this the 'answer' to America's problem?
    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/0...oney-where-their-mouth-is-with-gun-insurance/

    Here's the broad strokes:
    Seven states – California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Colorado – have, in the past month, introduced bills to have gun owners put their money where their mouth is: liability insurance for their firearms, codifying that responsibility if their firearms are used incorrectly – used by children who find them, by criminals who easily steal them; by people to whom they sell them without requiring a background check.

    ....
    the goal is making the gun owner fully responsible for his firearms, making sure they are always properly locked away.....

    Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, questioned whether it is constitutional to require someone to buy insurance to exercise a constitutional right.

    Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University, counters:
    “Nothing in the constitution grants people the right to expose others to serious risk without compensation.”
     
  2. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    basically a good idea, but where would you draw the line? Many people are killed with cars (insured) and common kitchen knifes (not insured). There are precedences both for and against such a law.
    At any rate it would make people more careful and hide their weapons better. That in itself would already be a big step forward.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Whilst an interesting idea, I don't think it'll work in practice. Things to consider, how much revenue will any insurance charge generate and will that be more than any payments made against such insurance, and where will any short fall come from? Because insurance companies are a business and like any buisness they want to make a profit.
     
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    A common kitchen knife is not deadly during its typical method of use. Cars are. Guns are. Insurance is about risk. The relative risk of injury or death in the presence of a gun (or a car) is orders of magnitude higher than in the presence of a kitchen knife.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Nor is a car deadly during is intended method of use (sure it can cause death and injury but most of those are accidental, very few car releated deaths are due to someone delibertly trying to run someone down).
     
  6. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Cars can kill or cause serious injury with just a moment's carelessness. Guns can, too.

    Why should we hold car owners responsible for accidental or criminal misuse, but not gun owners?
     
  7. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I kind of doubt that all the gang and drug related killers in Chicago, which are all usig guns that are illegal to possess in Chicago, would bother getting insurance policies for the illegal guns that they use to kill other gang bangers.

    As for the rest of the folks, NRA membership already comes with three or four different kinds of accident insurance. :)
     
  8. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    You've profoundly missed the point of this legislation and gotten its purpose complete backward.

    They're not expecting gangbangers, drug dealers, and junkies robbing liquor stores or homes or cars to voluntarily insure their weapons. They're holding the legal federal firearms licensees from gun shops and gun shows and the legal private gun owners who are the source for the vast majority of the guns used in street crime responsible for the illegal sales they make to underage kids, felons, the mentally ill, people seeking to avoid background checks and get a gun immediately, people who are obviously buying the weapons for someone else, etc.

    Most illegally acquired or irresponsibly used guns are purchased or taken from legal gun owners and licensees, and a smaller (but still large) number are stolen from them. This puts some liability on the gun owners who are deliberately reselling or giving out their guns illegally or those who are extremely careless with their legal guns, rather than only prosecuting the criminals who commit the final crime.

    Read this for the legal sources of most of the illegally used guns on the streets:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html

    I think it has a good chance of being effective at reducing overall gun violence rather than (or preferably in addition to) laws which specifically target weapons typically used in mass shootings which are a very small portion of total gun violence deaths (despite their horrific nature). They also need to increase the budget, manpower, and research capabilities of the ATF which have been limited by special interests and some in Congress.

    Chicago and other cities can have strict gun bans within their city limits all they want, but it won't be effective as long as anyone can just drive outside the city limits and illegally purchase a gun from a legal (but corrupt) firearms dealer or relative any time they want.
     
  9. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    On a bizarre note, the LA cop who is currently on a killing rampage strenuously supports an assault weapons ban and tightening gun restrictions. Where are we, as a society, when the latest psycho killer terrorizing an entire city is ranting against the last psycho killing?

    And then he goes on to voice his strident opposition to the idea of extending the Hangover series of movies past Hangover III, lest it take away "the originality of its foundation."

    You couldn't make this stuff up.
     
  10. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's a good idea. Our German neighbors recently sentenced the father of a kid that ran amok with his gun which he didn't lock up properly.

    And of course you can draw a clear line. It's all about the purpose. Cars are for transportation. Kitchen knifes are for cutting food. Chain saws are for cutting trees. Guns are for killing.


    There should be major restrictions for buying weapons. And if after a crime the gun can be traced back to an arms dealer who didn't make sure to check the buyer thoroughly and to follow the laws, then the dealer should get punished as well.
     
  11. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Well, the humorous part of all this is that most insurers already provide firearms coverage, usually as part of standard homeowner policies, covering theft, damage, liability, accidental use, and wrongful death. You can save some on premiums by having a nice gun safe. As I mentioned, the NRA and many other firearms organizations also provide coverage.

    To go further than that would require some rough hurdles. One would be a jury that would find someone liable for something like having a gun stolen because a newspaper published the home address for every gun-stealing criminal to read, this after the government provided a list of gun addresses via a FOIA request, as just happened in New York. Another would be a jury that would find someone liable even though they sold a gun to someone in a completely legal transaction, just as you could sell your car to someone. If that person then gets a DUI years later, why would a jury find you responsible and financially liable for having sold them a car?

    About 40% of guns used in crime come from the streets and another 40% come from family members. (Bureau of Justice Statistics link) Among other sources, background checks are required and would absolve the seller of legal liability because they'd done due dilligence. So this boils down to family transactions - in families full of criminals.

    If you try to find a family member legally liable (which you would if you want to make the insurance company's high-priced legal team to pay out) then you'd also be in effect charging them with the crime of providing a gun illegally to a criminal. Why you'd waive charging them criminally is beyond me, as is why you'd want to call down the attack dogs from a major insurance company instead of letting the family member depend on the skills of a public defender (a gang member's relatives are probably also very poor).

    So I'm at a loss as to why these state legislators would think that requiring something that gun owners already make use of would somehow reduce crime. I wonder if they've heard of safeties (common on guns for centuries now), combination safes, or anything else, either?

    Strangely enough, it's only now that we're even requiring police to run background checks on the murderers they freely auction off guns to. Up to now the police were prohibited from actually checking their line of gun customers for criminal records. Of course we also have BATF directors selling illegally purchased personal guns to random drug lords on the Internet, but they're probably covered from civil suits under sovereign immunity and wouldn't have to pay for additional homeowners insurance.
     
  12. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    Actually, you can make this stuff up, because crazy as his manifesto and motivations for revenge against people unrelated to his grievance are, there is no mention of LaPierre, assault weapons, or The Hangover anywhere in it (use the search function). Why you, or whomever you got that quote from felt the need to add that to it is beyond me (though I suppose the Wayne LaPierre part could be an attempt at discrediting legitimate gun control advocates), and since it has nothing to do with this topic, I'll ask you to stop. If this is just your weird sense of humor again, stop that too.

    And, for those unfamiliar with the case, here's some background:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162...others-shot-amid-manhunt-for-ex-lapd-officer/

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8983500

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/07/christopher-dorner-manifesto-ramblings_n_2639141.htm
     
  13. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    He actually didn't make it up. Gawker posted the shooter's manifesto. LaPierre and The Hangover are in Part 2. Link to Part 1.
     
  14. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    My apologies then for contradicting your post, gturner. I guess they just posted the first part of the manifesto on HuffPo and Scribd.
     
  15. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    For some reason most news outlets just posted 11 of the 22 pages, perhaps because he was fawning all over their anchors and giving them advice or something, or perhaps because it's hard to seriously argue that the news media doesn't influence some of these shooters when a manifesto reads like it was penned by a expert news media critic. It gets a little surrea in placesl, like he's having a friendly chat with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper.

    I also felt like he was covering every random topic (Jennifer Biel, Chris Christie, Charlie Sheen, Larry David, and about a hundred other personalities) that a cop might discuss with his partner during an eight hour shift in a squad car. Is the guy off his rocker or completely normal (aside from the well-thought out murderous rampage/assassination bit)?

    If the LAPD can't stop this guy and he starts fighting crime and corruption from outside the law then the story is going to get really crazy, in a Hollywood/Dark Knight kind of way.

    ETA: He's a staunch supporter of Obama and George HW Bush, and badly wants Chris Christie or Hillary Clinton in 2016. Who does that?! Is that where the train left the tracks?
     
  16. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How would that work? As long as the insurance companies have no way to monitor your safety practices, they can’t affect your premiums.
     
  17. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    True, but they can place the onus on the person taking out the insurance to prove that they took all reasoanble steps to prevent their firearm being miseds. If the insured person couldn't prove they had, the insurance company wouldn't pay out leaving the persons whos gun was misueds with the possibility of a large sum of money to pay out.
     
  18. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    ^ Well there's the snag. Requiring them to pay out would require a verdict from a jury that in all likelihood won't hold them any more responsible than has been the case in civil suits against gun owners whose guns were taken or used for ill without their knowledge, consent, or approval for the past two-hundred years.

    You can pass laws claiming all sorts of legal responsibilities, but if the jury just doesn't see it then they won't grant an award, and in this case what they need to see is actual responsibility for the final outcome that traces back to an event that occured possibly years earlier and seperated by perhaps half a dozen intermediaries.

    For example, one of my friends had his gun safe ripped out of his floor by a Mexican and broken open by the railroad tracks. His personal Glock was removed and then used later that night in an attempt to trade it for hard drugs in a DEA sting operation. Had the DEA not recovered it the gun would've passed through all sorts of hands and ended up Lord knows where and used for God knows what.

    You can write a law that say he's legally liable for whatever final outcome occured, but how on Earth are you going to convince a jury that he was in any way to blame, or even remotely connected to a crime other than as the victim of a robbery? Jurors are not idiots.

    The other problem is that any such finding would set a legal precedent that you are responsible if teenagers break into your house, steal your beer, steal your car, and then get in some horrible traffic accident with lots of fatalities. In fact, you'd be responsible to the tune of potentially millions of dollars. If they stole your laptop and used it to hack into something, you'd be legally responsible. If you sold someone a laptop and they used it for a crime, you'd be legally responsible. All this due to precedent.

    As it stands now, if a jury thinks you were willfully reckless or in cahoots with the perpetrator, they can already hold you liable. If prosecutors think you knowingly sold a gun to a criminal or sold it knowing it would be used in a criminal enterprise, they can already charge you with a crime.

    The insurance angle doesn't actually add anything, and most gun owners - and home owners, already have insurance that would cover such things. The other problem is that unlike what is hoped for, the insurance rates cannot reflect the actual individual risk or the companies would be sued for bias or discrimination because guns in bad, low income neighborhoods are vastly more likely to be stolen or misused than a gun on a farm, affluent suburb, or gated community.

    And the whole idea invites Constitutional scrutiny because you could also require $200 insurance to cover the risk of getting electrocuted in a voting booth, or require insurance to cover costs of illegal searches and seizures, insurance against the risk of being thrown in jail without charges, insurance against being forced to provide free room and board to soldiers, insurance against having your property seized under imminent domain, and of course insurance against libel suits if you want to print anything or post something on the Internet.
     
  19. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    If someone steals a car and kills someone with it, the car's owner isn't the one that gets charged.
     
  20. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The onus is already on them. Gun accidents don’t happen because their consequences are insufficiently dire to deter carelessness. Gun accidents happen because people think they’re not going to happen.