New Bill Would Require Gun Owners to Carry Liability Insurance

New Bill Would Require Gun Owners to Carry Liability Insurance
Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced the Firearm Risk Protection Act last week, a bill that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance.photo from cnsnews.com

A bill known as the Firearm Risk Protection Act, which would require individuals to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a firearm, was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.

"We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who introduced the legislation, according to this story on The Hill. "The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise."

The legislation includes a $10,000 fine if gun owners ignore the mandated insurance requirement. Service members and law enforcement officers would be exempt from the requirement.

It should be noted the federal government does not require the purchase of car insurance. That question is decided by each state. States that do require car insurance do so if the car is to be driven on public roads, not merely to own one or operate a vehicle on private roads.

According to Maloney, the reason fatalities from vehicular accidents have declined is because auto insurance carriers incentivize drivers to take precautions to reduce accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 36,254 fatal crashes in the U.S. in 1994, not including pedestrian or motorcycle fatalities. Numbers reached a high in 2005 with 39,252 fatal crashes. In 2012, there were 30,800.

"An insurance requirement would allow the free market to encourage cautious behavior and help save lives," Maloney stated. "Adequate liability coverage would also ensure that the victims of gun violence are fairly compensated when crimes or accidents occur."

According to this story on National Review, 1993 saw the peak of U.S. gun homicides. The firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.

Maloney also recently reintroduced legislation that would require sellers to obtain a background check for all guns sold at gun shows. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) would be used and all transfers would be reported to the attorney general.