A Market Driven Solution to Counter the Proliferation of Gun Violence

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About Mark Greene

GMP Senior Editor Mark Greene is an Emmy Award winning animator and designer. He blogs and speaks on Men's Issues at the intersection of society, politics, relationships and parenting for the Good Men Project, HLN, Talking Cranes, The Shriver Report, The Huffington Post, Mamamia and Role Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD and Google.
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Comments

  1. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    In America, if you own a car, you must buy insurance. Why? Because cars can kill people. Why not the same with being a person? After all, you don’t need any weapon to kill people. This would create a pool to pay for the damage done when people commit violent crimes. Why should guns be singled out?

  2. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    P.S. I don’t think whoever is calling this a “market driven solution” understands what that term means. If the only reason such a “market” comes into existence is because some people used legislation to create a threat of punishment by government to force it down other “consumers” throats, that is not “market driven”.

  3. courage the cowardly dog says:

    ln theory this sounds good, but I see a lot of problems. As a prospective initiative it might be able to be enforced in some way, but what about all those assault style weapons already out there. How do you compell people to purchase insurance for them. And what if a guy who owns nothing, except perhaps an assault style weapon doesn’t buy the insurance, if he were to be sued what would you recover from him. Nothing, because he has nothing. You analogize it to auto insurance. Do you know how many people are driving around without auto insurance? More than you think, I am sure. Ok, so a guy buys an assault style weapon, enters into an insurance contract to cover the weapon, he agrees to make monthly payments on the premium and the insurance company issues him an insurance card and then the guy makes the first months payment, but none thereafter, the insurance company cancels the insurance for nonpayment of premium and you are right back where you started. I would tax the shit out of weapons like that and use the revenues to put fences around the schools, armed police officers in the schools and bars on the windows of the schools, interior and exterior surveillance cameras and security personnel monitoring the cameras 24/7. I would make it a felony to walk on to school property with a weapon on you unless you are law enforcement or authorized to do so. We tax the hell out of cigarettes and alcohol because of the deleterious health affects. Are assault style weapons any less dangerous to our health? Using the government’s taxing power will influence the market for these kinds of weapons and raise revenues to pay for the damage they inflict.

  4. courage the cowardly dog says:

    ln theory this sounds good, but I see a lot of problems. As a prospective initiative it might be able to be enforced in some way, but what about all those assault style weapons already out there. How do you compell people to purchase insurance for them. And what if a guy who owns nothing, except perhaps an assault style weapon doesn’t buy the insurance, if he were to be sued what would you recover from him. Nothing, because he has nothing. You analogize it to auto insurance. Do you know how many people are driving around without auto insurance? More than you think, I am sure. Ok, so a guy buys an assault style weapon, enters into an insurance contract to cover the weapon, he agrees to make monthly payments on the premium and the insurance company issues him an insurance card and then the guy makes the first months payment, but none thereafter, the insurance company cancels the insurance for nonpayment of premium and you are right back where you started. I would tax the shit out of weapons like that and use the revenues to put fences around the schools, armed police officers in the schools and bars on the windows of the schools, interior and exterior surveillance cameras and security personnel monitoring the cameras 24/7. I would make it a felony to walk on to school property with a weapon on you unless you are law enforcement or authorized to do so. We tax the hell out of cigarettes and alcohol because of the deleterious health affects. Are assault style weapons any less dangerous to our health? Using the government’s taxing power will influence the market for these kinds of weapons and raise revenues to pay for the damage they inflict.

  5. I absolutely support the idea of requiring gun owners (and I am one) to insure each and every gun they own with no exemptions for collectors.

  6. There are so many problems with this proposal.

    First: a very brief rant. Mark, you are just a tool of Big Insurance!

    (Okay, got that out of the way.)

    Of course insurance companies would love this idea because it makes money for them.

    But, after that, you run into problems.

    While we are required to have auto insurance, it is a crime to drive without it. Who is likely hit most with criminal charges based upon the failure to have insurance? Probably minorities. This, too, would further criminalize those communities.

    Understanding this reality, insurance companies will also sell you an “uninsured/underinsured” policy (but, wait, how can people be uninsured when the law requires you to be insured?). Mark, will you be buyying uninsured gun coverage, in case someone shoots you and does not have the proper insurance for the gun. Because, I am pretty sure the insurance companies will sell it to you.

    With auto insurance, the insurance companies do not cover intentional acts. By that, I mean, if you have an accident (negligence), you are insured. if you run down your ex in your car, the insurance companies will not cover that. How will that work when it comes to guns? Will the insurance company have to cover intentional acts? They usually do not insure against crimes. But, that is what you are proposing.

    They also do not cover unauthorized acts in a motor vehicle. By that, I mean, if I lend Mark my car and he gets in an accident, my insurance should cover him (and any insurance he has might cover him, as well). But, if Mark steals my car, I am not responsible for what he does with it (and my insurance company will probably not cover him). How will that work with guns? The Newtown guns were stolen (or, at least, used without permission). You better believe that the insurance companies would say that their policy does not cover that.

    And, there is really no reason to distinguish between assault rifles and any other kind of gun.

    But, if you do, what happens in the case of Newtown? I believe, if I did not fully block out the news coverage, that there was an “assault-style” weapon and some handguns. Would you be covered if you were shot by one, but not the other. And, didn’t Columbine have some shotguns? And, Aurora was a mix of handguns and assault weapons, if I recall. So, that would make for some very messy (and unseemly) litigation.

    I just don’t think this is the right solution.

    -Jut

    • Jut,
      Most folks who can afford these kinds of weapons have some resources. But this isn’t a class issue. Rich and poor alike die in these mass shootings. That being said, poor folks have to buy food. Their not going to be disproportionally hurt by this issue.

      Auto insurance does not cover intentional acts yes. But this insurance pool is not about “fixing” damage to the shooter or their possessions. It will not benefit assault weapon owners. (Unless it soothes collective guilt by offering concrete support to victims.) Its about creating a pool to compensate those survivors who are hurt by the impact of a collective societal decision to saturate our nation with combat level weapons.

      If the shooter is not insured, the pool will still be called upon to pay damages and support the community’s recovery. It is the requirement to be insured that will encourage responsible assault weapon ownership. People will lock up their assault weapons and get lower rates for it. People with criminal records will not be insured. When they eventually encounter law enforcement, police will have recourse to take their weapons. Same with those who have a history of mental illness.

      As for what kinds of guns are used in a mass shooting. Assault weapons are always in the mix. And if this program somehow reduces that likelihood, fine. Another benefit. But I doubt it will.

  7. AnonymousDog says:

    You only need to buy liability insurance for your car if you drive it on public highways. Following your reasoning, only people with concealed carry permits would need insurance.

  8. AnonymousDog says:

    I think you should also attend the National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry Ohio, next August, and see what kind of rifles they are using for target shooting.

    • They can juggle dynamite if they like. They just need to insure that when things go very very wrong that others are not obligated to pay for the damage done. Where does it end this idea that people should be able to shoot off whatever level of weapon they like? Surface to air missiles? What? As a society we get to collectively choose what we accept as reasonable levels of personal expression. We do it in all other arenas. Why should guns be immune? Some people are going to have to accept some limitations on their personal ballistic appetites in exchange for being members of our collective society.

  9. The state demands liability insurance only to operate your car on their highways. They have no right or basis to require you to insure something that stays in your garage.
    Almost every bad act with any type of gun is already characterized under the Law as a Crime, ie, an intentional bad act. Liability insurance basically never covers that which someone chooses to do.
    If so called assault weapons are to be treated as a distinct class – which they are only on the basis of certain styling clues – the best approach imho would be to treat them under the law like handguns are now under Texas Law. 1. Legal on your property. 2. A felony to be carrying off your property concealed or not without a permit. I do not think CCW permit holders would mind having AR styled guns being added to what they can keep with them that others cannot.
    See, Gun Control can actually help matters when they are based on rewarding compliance and good behavior as opposed to inflicting varying degrees of punishment and humiliation. In Texas the system goes out of its way to reward people getting a CCW permit because 1. Folks who will do so basically never cause trouble with guns 2. Getting those people in the system is useful and provides good information quickly to LE via computercomputer(the whole CCW permit thing is IT based). 3. The State gains a tremendous amount of leverage over CCW permit holders. You have no choice but to cooperate with LE thereafter.
    Besides, insuring a weapon means registering it and there is nowadays zero trust that our authorities will not at some point in the future feel an impulse to confiscate them. Even the most law abiding gun owner would ignore registration laws with a clean conscience and deep suspicion of whoever purposed the notion.
    That same type person would however have no objection to fullfilling licensing requirements to carry an AR styled weapon. And he/she would vote on a jury to convict someone carrying without a license.
    Of course, the criminals will go on dealing in weapons the same way they deal in drugs and stolen TV sets.

    • Interesting that there’s not yet a response to you from the author. The gun control crowd seems very reluctant to admit that ostracizing, humiliating, and otherwise punishing legal gun owners is their real motivation, intentionally or not. Your suggestions accomplish the same ends the author seems to seek, without the added venom and spite. Sad that people can’t be well intentioned without being vindictive.

      • BC
        Gun control advocates run across a wide spectrum. I own guns, so your assumption that my goal is to humiliate myself is incorrect. However, I do feel that our system, while pumping more and more weapons into ciculation, has no mechanism by which victims of gun violence can be COMPENSATED. This system would create a pool to do so and mechanisms for managing who ends up in possession of the more powerful weapons. Like auto insurance, it would provide protection for responsible gun owners and non gun owners against “accidents” and unlike car insurance it would be designed specially to pay out on intentional misdeeds.

        Insuring guns is not about punishing law abiding gun owners. But if we insist on placing the value of unrestained and unlimited gun sales over the safety of our general population (which we most certainly do) then we must collectively insure our guns in order to compensate the innocent men, women, and children who are impacted by our national pro gun priorities. 

        • I’m not opposed to a mechanism by which innocent victims of gun violence can be compensated, but I’m not sure that I like the idea of the insurance industry handling it. In my experience, the insurance industry compensates itself, leaving victims in the lurch. I’d also be interested to know just how many victims of gun violence are “innocent.” Certainly the children and staff from Sandy Hook and Aurora were innocent, but it’s my suspicion that they represent the minority. I’ve spent nearly 20 years in EMS and have seen hundreds of shootings. I’d estimate less than 5% of non-suicides were anything other than drug, gang, or other crime related.

    • I’m sorry to be a stick in the mud here, but anti-government paranoia is no basis for crafting national policy. So far, guns are not being confiscated. But people are being slaughtered. Avoiding any effort to address the epidemic of gun violence in America because you fear some kind of gun confiscation is just an excuse to avoid collective responsibility.

  10. This is actually the best idea I’ve heard on the subject. Insurance for wrongful death and wrongful injury be the holder of the weapon is a damn good Idea Mark! I would actually not stipulate “assault weapons,” as the classification is as mystical as “the Saturday Night Special.” Both are/were classifications invented by liberal media long ago. To some, Assault Rifle means “scary looking gun.” To others it means “semi-auto.”

    Nearly anyone using the term immediately indicated to the gun-knowledgable that the speaker is not — not “gun knowledgable.” Limiting to the “Mystical Category” would only complicate things and discourage any payment.

    The insurance idea would really float in this nation. Its an idea consistent with this nation’s spirit of proximate cause and shared burden. The car analogy is actually impossible to refute.

    I can see it! I can really see it for every single gun. If some entity were to collect even $10/year per gun, people would likely pay willingly. The amount of cumulative funds would tilt the earth. Those killed and/or injured whom are not committing a crime could be fairly compensated by the end-user community, not the manufacturers (for usage cases).

    You are a “first” Mark Green. A “first” in my view of the gun issue. An idea with radical sense…the NRA should be pressured into supporting it straight through Congress!

  11. The honest, clear thought process and logic in this article create an indisputable (IMO) argument for the proposed risk-pool. Its free from nuclear-grade knee-jerks and thus, it allows true focus on a true issue with truth as its basis.

    This idea of compulsory insurance (for all guns IMO) begins to blend pragmatism into a an emotional slurry.

    In New Hampshire, no motorist is compelled to have their vehicle insured. As a result of that allowance and now a bad consumer economy, many (BIG numbers) of NH people drive into other states without insurance. Some find out the hard way that being uninsured is fully unacceptable and the Hammer of Thor crashes down upon them, making the $300 savings seem as stupid as can be.

    The uninsured get fined and lose their registration instantly in Massachusetts — all by default. Society’s outliers use to pay such penalties all the time. Now some wish to coddle the negligent or poor. Well…too bloody bad! If you can’t partake in the risk-pool, don’t use your gun until you get with the program. Its called discipline and accountability. I have NO problem with discipline and accountability surrounding the maintenance of firearms.

    Hell, cops use to buy false-arrest insurance before legislation protected them, and that was their JOB!

    The NRA actually issues default gun insurance to its members in case guns are stolen or otherwise honestly lost. I will be embarrassed to be a gun owner if we cannot mobilize this idea for the real losses and improved safety investments.

  12. If anti-government paranoia was an invalid thing on which to base public policy, there would never have been a Bill of Rights made integral to the US Constitution. As a matter of fact, the Framers made it explicitly clear with the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments that there were limits to what the Authorities were permitted to study about individuals. They cannot bug your bedroom or read all your mail or know the location of all your weapons. Being human, they cannot be trusted with that kind of leverage over their fellows.
    If there was a way past the difficulty of writing insurance for the commission of deliberate and felonious acts without killing off the remnants of Constitutionality in the US there would still be the fact that criminals would ignore this gun law as thoroughly as they do all the others.
    Here is what is really being purposed: Put lawful gun owners in the vise of being required to pay for the damage done by unlawful gun holders over whom they have zero control and never will control.. It would be like you are compelled to pay my car insurance but I can drive anyway I want, including occasionally crashing into school buses for kicks.
    Indeed, why stick these costs onto lawful gun owners? Why not randomly pick folks from the lines at the Post Office and make them pay for it. Afterall, they have (most likely) never committed a gun crime either – which should make them just as liable as lawful gun owners.. Or why not go the whole way and start taking hostages who, it must be publically announced, will be executed if gun crime does not decrease. Never mind that the hostages and their grieving families have no control of over this, at least it would be “Doing Something”
    My suggestion was a serious one. Require a carry permit to be out and about with scary looking guns, just like for handguns. It would be complied with, Law Enforcement would be helped. The State would make money. Therefore, it will never happen. It does not hurt lawful gun-owners enough.
    FWIW Australia has spent around a billion dollars over the past 15 years trying to control certain guns. Texas has had better stats over the same time frame selling CCW permits.

    • Mark Greene says:

      What continues to STUN me about gun rights arguments like your is how you continully stoke fears about the loss of a right which is CLEARLY in no danger of being lost. Its codified in the Bill of Rights, for crying out loud! But what you seem to care less about is the collective culpability of the gun looby and gun owners (like myself) in the clear and present danger a gun permissive society creates for its citizens.

      • This ought not even be viewed in a “Gun Rights” mode. This is a “responsable citizen” idea. It will be a cost of owning such things a an altered nation.

  13. “Collective culpability?” Being a member of a group, ie gun owners, should define ones guilt or innocence? Mao or Stalin would have no problem with that notion but I doubt T. Jefferson would embrace it.
    Car ownership per se is not a concern of the state, it is driving on state roads. On private roads (like a race track) one does not need a license, insurance, bumpers, etc.
    I am serious about the solution being along the lines of an expanded CCW permit to cover the carrying of Scary Weapons outside ones personal property. It would work in practice and comports well with the car insurance on public roads analogy.

  14. Just as an aside, I’m currently in line inside the rotunda of the National Archives in Washington, DC about to view the original copy of the Bill of Rights along with the Constitution. Declaration of Independence, and for two days only, the Emancipation Proclamation, written in Lincoln’s own hand. Makes me very proud to be an American.

  15. Too bad “Assault Weapons” cannot be owned by civilians in the United States. The guns purchased are merely watered down versions of their military big brothers. Yes they are marketed as assault rifles but anyone who knows guns knows they aren’t. Much of the stock and internal mechanics are not even closely similar. These “Assault Rifles” are not capable of burst selection and are not capable of proper handling in extreme conditions. I could easily pick up a $150 Ruger 10/22 and do just as much damage.

    Insurance is an idiotic idea. A real idea would be a mandatory built in GPS which sent an alarm to authorities when entering a red zone (school etc.) or was removed. Meanwhile tighter restrictions on gun sales (fairs and gun shows), gun ownership transfer, and gun ownership ID systems.

    • Mark Greene says:

      Greg,
      Gun enthusiasts take so much pride in their gun knowledge. But in the greater scheme of things it is a minor accomplishment. What is more important is good ideas about how to protect innocents from being slaughtered. Your GPS idea is pretty great but your tone leaves something to be desired.

  16. GPS tagging sounds like great idea. But why limit its application to current gun free zones? Why not extend the gun free zones to include every high crime area? That would instantly force illegal guns off the street because they would not have the tracking devices that make them so easy to find.
    Using this same clever trick, we could quickly mop up the Taliban in A Stan. Just declare their whole country a Gun Free Zone except for those guns with the GPS chip(AKA drone magnets) The Warlords would line up to comply. It would be a small additional step to enforce tagging of all roadside improv devices that go bang.
    The bad guys are all so dumb… this shoud be easy.

    • ***But why limit its application to current gun free zones? Why not extend the gun free zones to include every high crime area?***

      Its really strange, but for some strange reason, Lanza did not see that particular sign in Newtown. It seems the the LA, NY, Boston, Chi…gangs don’t see them either. Weird!

    • Mark Greene says:

      Well if we’re just here to shoot down ideas, I’m sure the LA gangs will be lining up to apply for carry permits. But this isnt about what the Taliban will do. Its about what law abiding gun owners can and should be willing to do to cushion the devestating impact of our collective decision to live in a gun permissive society.

      • No…not trying to shoot-down any ideas (me). I bring up the non-compliance by gangs only as a vibrent illustration of such. If you do the math, an all-gun insurance pool will dwarf the illegally, non-insured gang shootings and easily cover the damages they cause.

        I don’t drink and drive, but I pay they communal rates as if I do.

  17. Honestly, when will you guys ever learn? Analogizing car insurance to required gun insurance for fun owners is absurd at best. 1. Driving is a privilege not a right. 2. You can’t force me to pay a penalty for exercising any right. (Remember, it’s unconstitutional to require me to get a State-issued photo ID to vote. Right vs privilege.) Sure, you frame the issue as ” [i]ts about what law abiding gun owners can and should be willing to do to cushion the devastating impact of our collective decision to live in a gun permissive society.” But you can easily just change the tags in that sentence. For example: “its about what [cheese burger eaters] can and should be willing to do to cushion the devastating impact of our collective decision to live in a [cheese burger] permissive society.” Let’s all impose an “insurance penalty” on everyone who eats cheese burgers…oh wait we did that already with Obamacare. Let’s try another example. Its about what swimming pool owners can and should be willing to do to cushion the devastating impact of our collective decision to live in a [swimming pool] permissive society. We all know swimming pools are inherently dangerous things. In fact, accidental drowning is the leading cause of accidental child deaths in the United States (it’s even worse than owning a gun!!!!). And, if we as a society simply chose not to have swimming pools, we would insure that those who might drown will continue to live happy normal lives free from the murky dark water that choked out their lives. Therefore, the people who choose to have swimming pools each year should have to pay “insurance” that would be collected and dispersed to those who are inconsolably damaged by the evil swimming pool.

    People kill people with all sorts of things; knives, lawnmowers, chopsticks, shoes, animal carcasses, toothbrushes, fake billy-bob teeth (I’ll have to double check this one). You get the idea. Why are guns any different?

    • Your argument couldn’t be more off the mark. If you insist on comparing swimming pools with guns then lets do so. Any owner of a swimming pool KNOWS they have an obligation to put a fence around that pool or face liability for any accidental deaths. There is a clear and commonly understood degree of responsibility when you own a pool.
      But there is also a vast difference between a swimming pool and a combat style gun. It is clearly a matter of the degree to which a so called assault weapon can be used to kill many people in a short period of time. In this regard your pool analogy is absurd. A better analogy would be sticks of dynamite. Are we to flood our society with dynamite and then, when people loose their live in explosions declare “dynamite doesn’t kill people! People kill people!” People are being slaughtered at an alarming rate. And its because in a society like ours its simply not safe to have ever more lethal weapons (or dynamite) readilly available to any person who wants them.

      • “People are being slaughtered at an alarming rate. And its because in a society like ours its simply not safe to have ever more lethal weapons (or dynamite) readilly available to any person who wants them.” I equate this with the ill conceived logic of the liberal mantra “more guns equals more death and fewer guns equals fewer deaths.”

        Obviously you should take a one way ticket to a country like Russia. It is a safe haven of a place since it has eradicated private ownership of guns by law abiding citizens (except for licensed hunters) through decades of totalitarian rule. However, before you by that 1st class Aeroflot trip, keep in mind that Russia’s murder rates swallows America’s several times over. That’s right the guy/gal that takes your life and the lives of those living with you in your government supplied housing will most likely stab or strangle you. He may not have a gun but you’ll still be dead. If you think, OK he found one little (pfft) country that defies my way of thinking. Then you’ll be even more shocked to learn that when guns are eliminated from society the murder rate is usually exponentially higher. That’s right, people still get slaughtered. The nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).

        You may not like those examples but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. I admire you for caring about the lives that have been lost to the worst of our society (the people not the guns). I also cannot begin to emphasize this advice enough, stop thinking like a woman (with feelings), pick up some literature, read it, and use your brain to think of what is actually causing these tragedies. It isn’t the gun.

        • Mark Greene says:

          Your arguments typify that of the gun lobby. but cherry picking data and making false comparisons isnt going to change the fact that most Americans are deciding that guns are a real and present danger. Yes, you are absolutely 100% right that guns don’t kill people. They just make it a lot easier for people to get the job done. The case I’m making here does’t even impact your garden variety rifle or shotgun. Nor does it seek to limit access to combat style weapons. It simply insures that resources are in place when innocents are mowed down.

    • courarge the cowardly dog says:

      , it’s unconstitutional to require me to get a State-issued photo ID to vote.

      This is not true. Thus far Pennsylvania’s voter ID law has withstood constitutional challenge. It is now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but the Superior Court has said the requirement of having a picture ID in order to vote is constitutional.

  18. Mark
    You say that you live in Texas and that you own guns. Have you therefore actually read the gun laws applicable in Texas? I have. There are pages and pages of them. It is already a crime to negligently expose a firearm, just for example.
    I have trouble also with the idea that any gun-aware person would talk about the difference between “garden variety” guns and scary looking ones. See, the first thing that any instructor (good parent, uncle. etc) would tell you about gun safety is that you treat them all the same., big or little, loaded or unloaded. They are all killing machines and deserve universal wariness and alertness.
    Is beer less intoxicating than wine? A teetolataler might say so; I doubt any serious drinker would, especially one who was in recovery because that persons knows how absolutely important is intent and self control.
    That Lanza dude could have done equal damage with a .22 Ruger with the standard 10 round quick change magazine if he had the mindset and the desire.
    Gun people actually would have little issue with paying fee for a general gun owning license. Hundreds of thousands already cheerfully pay more for a CCW permit than the figures mentioned here for “insurance” as well as being exposed to constant on-going background checks (the whole program being IT based). So, this approach IS doable.
    But no. Instead, you guys are fixated on knowing the exact location of every legally owned firearm in the country. It seems like a top priority. It is the first idea that gets mentioned after a gun incident no matter how tangential.
    If the goal was not eventual confiscation, what would be different about this picture?

    • Mark greene says:

      You know what? The idea that gun owners will have their weapons confiscated is simply paranoia whipped up by wedge issue political hacks in DC. It is just as likely that the NRA will organixe and fund an armed takeover of the US Government. Which, of course, is equally absurd. Although there are days when the constant anti-government rants make me wonder. ;)

  19. Headline for the Houston Chronicle today, ” The Murder rate here last year was so low that people who predicted higher murder rates when gun laws were liberalized in 1997 and 2005 are idiots.”

  20. Please excuse my glibness.
    What the headline really said was, “Back in 1997 and 2005 lots of guncontrol belivers claimed loudly and publically and on-the-record that taking certain steps to increase the presence of legal firearms in society (that were subsequently taken) would be followed by more gun crimes just like day follows night but the exact opposite happened and isn’t that interesting?”

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  22. I'm just a bill says:

    What does insurance do? Are you seriously saying that if someone insures their weapon that murders won’t happen? I don’t think you’d be able to find 1 parent of a child that was murdered in CT that would be willing to trade their child for an insurance settlement. In fact, I’ll bet if you talk with most crime victims, they want to know why, and HOW it can be prevented and not stick out their hand for a insurance settlement. Without finding the root cause of the problem, insurance does NOTHING to stop the violence.
    You’re argument of the number of rounds in the clip won’t work either…. It takes 2 seconds to change a clip in most weapons. A skilled marksman can do it in less. If all firearms must be insured, then we must expand it to all bow & arrows, knifes, fuel oil and fertilizer, and on an on …

    When you read between the lines of this article, the true meaning comes out… “it will be so cost prohibitive to carry insurance on a weapon that people won’t be able to afford it, essentially we (the anti-rights lobby) will be able to over come peoples rights identified by the the 2nd Amendment and get rid of guns… next is the freedom of…”. If you want to get rid of weapons, just say so, don’t be a coward and stand behind some journalistic nonsense. How about we do this?… for every article that rails against a right identified in the Constitution, we require the author to pay a $1000 Constitution fee. This fee will go towards mental health facilities that can help stop the violence in our country. … then how many articles will we see? none I suspect… good way to get rid of another Constitutional right…don’t ya think?

  23. John Weeast says:

    Every single time something like this tragedy happens, we hear the same overreactions. There are 300 million people in this country. There are over 310 million firearms owned currently with about 16 million more bought every year. You can go back through recorded history of mass shootings and there hasn’t been an upward trend in the amount. There hasn’t been a downward trend either. It’s stayed consistent throughout the years. Since states added carry laws, crime has been on a downward trend and it’s continued down. Every gun control measure tried so far has failed to have the same results. Bans resulted in skyrocketing crime (see Chicago and DC). The data is there, but the anti crowd will continue to ignore it unless it favors their argument.

    There were 12,644 murders in 2011. 323 were with a rifle. 2.5% of all murders were committed with the weapon you fear the most. Hammers were responsible for 496. Knives for 1,694. Hands and feet were responsible for 728, so the insuring of people would actually pay out twice as much…

    The edit about problems identifying what an assault weapon is is true. Because they don’t exist. It’s a media term for the look that resembles a military weapon. It’s a cosmetic feature only. It still fires one bullet per pull of the trigger, just like every other semi-automatic firearm that has been available in this country since the 1800′s. And the round is not as powerful as most hunting rifles. It doesn’t miraculously fire faster.

    Educate yourself on what firearms truly are and how they work before trying to suggest ways to fix them. This truly was a tragedy, and it belittles it to make it all about guns and not about the children. Especially when the information you use is proven false by even government data.

    • JohnWeeast: I’m interested in the insurance idea just so that those “injured” in the “civil sense,” have a pool of recourse. It really ought not be that expensive, and it ought not be an exclusionary (in ownership) thing. I’m truly not seeking to reap any reduction in injuries and death from Mark’s idea.

      I see the inherent nature of the gun. As the automobile, the gun can cause damages. Some states (probably 48 of them), have compulsory liability insurance.

      • John Weeast says:

        But it’s already covered. In automobiles, injuries are covered by the medical insurance and the payments are just to cover repairs done by the auto body shops. With Firearms, since it’s a criminal act, medical insurance still covers injuries, while the justice department covers punishment. You don’t get to have recourse against those that commit a crime against you. You can’t sue those that rob you. Although for some reason criminals can sue the police departments.

        If you try to monetize shootings, someone will shoot themselves and blame someone else. Then they raise rates on everyone to cover “unknown shooters.”

        Insurance companies are already profit centers that ignore the good of their subscribers. They don’t need another market.

        And yes, guns can cause damage. When committing a crime, that damage is bad. When protecting a life, that damage is good. If it didn’t damage, it wouldn’t be a good deterrent would it? And then the 2.5 million people saved by guns would be facing claims by criminals that failed? Now can you understand why it would be a bad idea?

        Our society has already flipped. Criminals already have more rights than ordinary citizens. They get more in prison than our elderly get in nursing homes. They aren’t allowed to be questioned harshly because duress is now so vague a term. Giving them the capability to sue people who defend themselves is just giving criminals an even bigger advantage, especially in all the states with Castle Doctrine. And limiting lawsuits when you commit a crime didn’t work when the police departments tried it either. They’re still sued by criminals every day.

  24. The most obvious flaw with argument is that we as American citizens have the right to own a gun. We do not have the right to drive a car, it is a privilege granted to us under certain circumstances one of which being we have insurance. What happens when a financially disadvantaged person does not purchase insurance for his or her weapon and partakes in a mass shooting? Who pays for that? All the law abiding gun owners who pay their insurance. Your solution in no way deter gun violence because any person that wants to get a gun will still get one and not pay the insurance. All you’ve done is create a fee for law abiding people to pay so the insurance company can lobby in Washington against gun ownership so they can protect their bottom line. It’s like paying a person to tell someone to make it harder for you to own the gun you pay for the fee for! Separately, what about people in this country have the right to own a gun but cannot afford the insurance on it? You are taking away an essential liberty granted to them so they can protect themselves. Of all the solutions to gun violence in this country I believe this has to be the worse one I’ve heard, even worse than banning all guns.

    • John Weeast says:

      ^agree, plus the Supreme Court has said that they can’t create laws that would create a price gap that would prevent people from owning firearms for self defense.

  25. wellokaythen says:

    I come at the insurance question from a different angle.

    If we want to figure out the best policies to have towards firearms, the insurance industry is already a good source of information (if you read between the lines). It may be the ultimate arbiter in much of our society’s treatment of gun ownership.

    Yes, they’re out to make a buck, and they tend to be giant corporations who are not interested in playing fair or maintaining a competitive system, and they are no more honest to their consumers than any other business. The insurance sector is not necessarily a real free-market system once you consider its close connection to many government agencies. But, their profits are extremely dependent on accurate and precise statistics about risk factors. An insurance company my lie to you, but it has to be honest and accurate with itself if it’s going to make any money. It has to have a good handle on reality in order to make any money. Look at what insurance companies charge, not just what they say.

    Their bottom line depends on very precise predictions about some things being more dangerous than other things. A difference of 1% in how dangerous something is could mean a difference of millions of dollars in profit. If doing something makes you safer, insurance companies push for it, because that makes profit for them. If doing something makes you less safe, insurance companies discourage it or charge more to cover you. And these companies tend to be ruthless about the numbers. They care less about political correctness or pleasing the public than they do about making money, and this money depends on having the most accurate statistics about what endangers your health and safety.

    For example, schools buy insurance. The cost of the insurance depends in large part on how “safe” the insurance company thinks that school is. How safe the company thinks that school is depends on what the mountain of statistics say about what is safer than what.

    So, if there is clear evidence that bringing more guns into schools would make schools safer, the companies that insure schools would be encouraging more guns in schools, just like they encourage homeowners to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. They would give discounts to schools that allow guns on campus and charge more for schools that try to prevent guns on campus. Not because insurance companies are hotbeds of gun-rights activists, but because the statistics are clear about it and it would make them more money.

    On the other hand, if the evidence is clear that allowing more guns in schools makes schools less safe, then insurance companies would encourage schools to limit the number of guns in schools. They would give some discounts to schools that try hard to keep guns out of school and have penalties for schools that do not. Not because insurance companies are hotbeds of pinko anti-gun liberals, but because the statistics are clear and it would make them more money.

    I don’t know the answer, but I am guessing that insurance companies would prefer to insure schools with as few guns as possible. Not because of politics, but because that’s what the cold hard numbers suggest.

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