State bill would require gun owners to carry liability insurance

California lawmakers are considering numerous gun measures this year, including one that would allow individuals to sue illegal gun traffickers and another that would make it easier to prosecute gun manufacturers. (Credit: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock)

If approved, a recently announced measure in California would make it the first state to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance to cover accidental or negligent use of their firearms.

Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner said that “[g]some kill more people than cars. Yet gun owners are not required to carry liability insurance like car owners are. She also said the costs of gun violence should no longer be borne by taxpayers, survivors, families, employers and communities. Instead, it’s time for gun owners to shoulder their share of that burden. Skinner is also working to amend another bill to allow gun owners to be held civilly liable if their guns are used to cause property damage, injury or death.

Opponents of the bill argue that no insurance company will cover the misuse of a gun and that the insurance requirements are an illegal violation of the constitutional rights of gun owners.

California lawmakers are considering numerous gun measures this year, including one that would allow individuals to sue illegal gun dealers and another that would make it easier to prosecute gun manufacturers.

Editor’s note: Insurance is often mentioned as a possible partial solution to the problem of armed violence. What is often misunderstood is that insurance will not pay for an intentional shooting – intentional acts are excluded, and a school or other mass shooting event is not accidental. Insurance might provide some benefits for accidental shootings, such as children picking up unlocked firearms, but there is no way to provide insurance for the intentional killing of others.

In January 2022, the city of Silicone Valley, San Jose approved what is believed to be the first such insurance requirement in the United States. You can read more about this prescription and the specific insurance coverage discussed in the following article, written by our colleagues at FC&S. The city may soon require gun owners to purchase insurance.

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