The tide has been turning rather quickly against the gun grabbing gang as the year draws to a close, and they’ve clearly noticed. With nearly three quarters of all Americans opposed to a ban on handguns, and a slim majority even opposing bans on so called “assault rifles,” Second Amendment opponents find themselves in need of more “creative” ways to go after your guns. The latest one being picked up from the reliable liberal arsenal and dusted off is the idea of forcing legal gun owners to purchase liability insurance for their weapons. This brainstorm is brought to you by Megan McArdle.
Novel gun control ideas continue to percolate through the commentariat. The latest idea is requiring liability insurance for gun owners, which seems to have first been suggested by John Wasik blogging at Forbes. Reihan Salam, one of my favorite thinkers, says it’s an idea seriously worth considering.
So… insurance. Well, insurance is supposed to help people, right? Maybe she’s just trying to make people’s lives better, not trample on their rights. Let’s read on.
In the end, I think it might be a fine idea to help a small number of people, but it wouldn’t do what proponents are imagining in terms of controlling criminal behavior. Mostly, it would be a way to compensate some victims of gun accidents…
The first question we have to answer is why we want to require the insurance. There are three reasons I can think of:
1) it will simply raise the cost of owning guns to the point where people aren’t willing to do it.
2) It will pay for the harm caused by guns
3) It will make insurers into de-facto regulators.
I like this article. McArdle is actually quite refreshing in her approach. Rather than trying to sneak around and disguise her intentions behind compassionate sounding paeans to save the children, protect the mentally ill and eliminate the sale of Grand Theft Auto, the author comes right out and admits what was fairly obvious to the rest of us already. It’s not going to cut down on crime, it will pose a significant barrier to law abiding citizens who wish to purchase weapons and it will convert insurance companies into a tool for doing what Congress should be constitutionally barred from enacting. This kind of brutal honesty about your intentions is to be admired.
Of course, it really is nothing but a new and less direct slant on the idea of taxing ammunition beyond affordability for most citizens. But that requires congressional action and could be subject to judicial review if it winds up being too obvious of a back door scheme to enact gun control. The insurance approach is interesting because, in the age of Obamacare, government mandated insurance can be used for all manner of social engineering under the guise of revenue enhancement.
We’ve been warning you since the news broke from Newtown… opponents of the Second Amendment have their teeth into this thing and they’re not going to give up while they think the window of opportunity remains open. And if a direct assault doesn’t work, they’ll be throwing every creative scheme they can dream up at the wall until they find something that sticks. Don’t let down your guard for a minute, because they aren’t just coming… they’re at the gates right now.
Update: (Jazz) I understand the point being made in some of the comments here. It’s true that in the lengthy discussion which follows the quoted text, the author discusses how such a proposal could be “problematic” and fail to result in the stated goal of acting as de facto gun control. And they are pretty solid arguments. But I still maintain that the entire discussion is based on the proposition that this could be a viable approach, but faces legal challenges along the road as well as failing to address key complaints being raised by those seeking to do this. My point is that the entire concept is a failure from the beginning and doesn’t even merit that level of discussion. This idea has nothing to do with anything but making it more difficult for law abiding citizens to obtain guns. Do you really think that anyone willing to go out and shoot people is going to be deterred by breaching another law through failure to obtain some expensive insurance policy? Gun grabbers always want to compare guns with automobiles in terms of the law. Think about it. Plenty of people keep driving after their insurance expires. That’s no deterrent at all.
But, with that said, if Ms. McArdle feels I misrepresented her take on this, my apologies for not expanding on this further in the original post. Everyone is invited to read the full article and judge for themselves.