New plan: mandatory gun insurance

posted at 8:31 am on February 9, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

What to do if the nation fails to fall in line behind new gun grabbing legislation and doesn’t want to put limits on ammo capacity? How about if they rebel against the idea of taxing the heck out of ammo? What if it just seems like there simply isn’t a majority on board with new gun control legislation? Well, if you follow the Obamacare model, you could always consider making extra insurance on weapons technology mandatory.

If you can’t force people to do what you want, force them to buy insurance: That seems to be the strategy of the liberal left in the Obama era. We refer not only to the ObamaCare health-insurance mandate but to the latest bright idea under consideration in mostly Democrat-dominated state capitals.

“Democratic lawmakers proposed legislation Tuesday that would require California gun owners to buy liability insurance to cover damages or injuries caused by their weapons,” FoxNews.com reports. The idea isn’t brand new: “Bills have been offered unsuccessfully in Massachusetts and New York since at least 2003,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But the idea has drawn added attention amid the inevitable delirium following a horrific crime involving firearms: “Similar bills have been introduced in other states after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. They include Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.

Whenever people make the “slippery slope” argument, naysayers arrive in droves to proclaim that hyperbolic extremists are creating straw men to frighten the public. I seem to recall a time when Obamacare was being debated where some of us were asking the question, if the government can force you to purchase a product such as insurance to regulate private activity, is there any human commercial engagement which they could not regulate? Pshaw, said the critics. You’re clearly being hysterical.

In this case, we’re hearing the same arguments being made about gun insurance that we heard about health insurance. Proponents claim that it’s actually for your own good, not to mention being beneficial to society at large. And we’re not trying to take your guns away, we’re just making you safer. As Taranto notes, this is unlikely to be the real motive.

In Pohlman’s account of the virtuous incentives his insurance scheme would purportedly establish, he leaves out the most obvious: By burdening gun owners with an additional cost, it would encourage some to give up guns altogether. We suspect that the real goal here is to deter gun ownership or, failing that, to punish law-abiding gun owners. As for criminals, we doubt any of them will ever hesitate to use a gun because it is uninsured.

Does it pass constitutional muster? I’m hearing a lot of people saying no. But many of those same folks said that about Obamacare. And according to the Supreme Court, as long as you call the insurance mandate a tax, there’s no problem. So now, if gun regulations fail to pass, apparently we can start a new fight over “gun insurance.” And if the Supremes call it a tax, it would likely pass. Welcome to the 21st century. I hope you enjoy it. Or at least survive it.


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