NY Bill: Gun Owners Need $250K in Liability Insurance

NY Bill: Gun Owners Need $250K in Liability Insurance
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Democrat, introduced the legislation.web photo

In a new attack on law-abiding gun owners in the state of New York and the right to own firearms, a proposal under debate in the Insurance Committee in the state Assembly would require gun owners to purchase $250,000 in liability insurance—insurance policies which don’t currently exist.

The idea is that the gun owner's insurance would cover "negligent acts involving the use of the gun should it be stolen or lost,"—acts committed by someone else, according to this story from whec.com.

Failure to maintain or renew the insurance would result in the revocation of a resident’s gun permit, which is required to own a firearm.

“I think it’s indefensible and irresponsible to even consider a piece of legislation like this, dealing with the very folks, they are the law abiding citizens in our state,” said Brian Kolb, the Assembly Minority Leader. “This is one more cost, one more burden, because the rest of our activities are ineffectual at best in dealing with the issue.”

The legislation is being pushed by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D), who said his bill would hold “reckless gun owners accountable” and could prevent tragedies committed by people using stolen or found guns.

"Enough is enough," Ortiz said in this story from the NY Daily News. "How can we protect our children from gun atrocities without a common-sense approach to provide victim compensation?"

Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, called the bill “ridiculous” and argued that it would be impossible for gun owners to obtain such insurance.

“Insurance companies don’t insure against criminal acts,” King said. He also happens to be a former insurance broker. “These guys are talking about things they don’t know anything about.”

Ortiz originally introduced the bill in 2013 but it has repeatedly stalled in committee and hasn't been introduce to the Republican-controlled state Senate, the story says.

This isn’t the first time the idea of using liability insurance requirements as gun control has been floated. We reported in June 2015 that a federal bill introduced in the House, known as the Firearm Risk Protection Act, would have required individuals to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a firearm.

The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, where it died.

Of course, gun owners can always purchase an insurance policy to ensure they will be properly compensated if their valuable firearms should ever be lost or stolen.