Insuring guns

First of all, this isn’t my idea. It’s my oldest son’s, and he told me about it a few years ago when he was trying to figure out a way he could make money. (Did I mention the kid is a genius? If you use this idea, you owe him.)

He said it made more sense to sidestep the entire gun control controversy and instead pass state laws that require anyone who owns a gun to carry insurance. If they have risk factors (like teenagers in the house), their rates go up. If one of their kids sneaks a gun out of the house and gets caught, or uses it to commit a crime, the insurance gets canceled for some meaningful period of time — say, 10 years.

And if someone steals your gun and you don’t report it in a 24-hour window of you finding out, your insurance is suspended.

If you have a rifle and it’s only used for hunting, low rates. If you have a Glock and you carry it in an open-carry town or state, your rates will be very high — because odds are so much higher that innocent bystanders may get caught in a shootout.

Homeowners could be required to carry gun insurance as long as they’re still paying on a mortgage, because a gun accident or misuse could result in a large legal judgment against the house.

Oh yeah, and you have to buy coverage for each gun you own.

I think it has real possibilities. What do you think?

(h/t Jason Kalafat.)

13 Responses to Insuring guns

  1. snuzy mandrake January 14, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    it’s actually a really good idea, because insurance companies would make a lot of money in the process and that lobby is one of the few that the GOP listens to as much as the gun lobby.

    do insurance companies sell firearm owner insurance already? if so, it’s just a small step to the individual mandate.

  2. k January 14, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    The free market is an amazing tool.
    I hope somebody goes with this idea. Jerry Brown?

  3. PurpleGirl January 14, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    It is an interesting idea. I’d like to see it tried. (I once owned a rifle for target shooting.)

  4. Snarki, child of Loki January 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I think that ins. companies DO sell firearms riders to homeowner’s insurance, but it’s more like the riders for jewelry, etc: coverage if the firearm is stolen or damaged by flood, fire, etc.

    Not covering legal liability for USING a firearm, which is what is needed in the scenario under discussion.

    Thing is, if someone does misuse a firearm and is legally liable, it isn’t the civil liability that is their main concern.

  5. dandy January 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Aw, c’mon guys, do you really think something like this would get through Congress? Yeah, it’s got the free-market aspect covered, but the NRA idiots who control Congress ain’t gonna get close to allowing it to happen; they’ll see it as some sort of Socialist Conspiracy to eventually infringe on the 2nd Amendment.
    Nothing against your son, Suze—-he’s obviously a creative thinker, but does he also want a pony for Xmas?

  6. leoinaugust January 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I like this as a roundabout way of enforcing personal responsiblilty ( a favorite buzzword of conservatism) However, just as scofflaws will ignore insuring cars with mandatory insurance, scofflaws will ignore insuring firearms. Zealots (and paranoids) will insist that there be no, postively no infringement on the right to bear arms and will consider anything sort of giving them carte blanche illegal. Some legistation might have been passed pre Ninties, I doubt that it even get past the suggestion of a law today.

  7. Corn January 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Auto insurance is there for me when my car gets wrecked.
    Homeowners is there for when my house burns down.
    Health insurance is there (sometimes) for me when I get sick.
    What exactly does my gun insurance get me, other than the right to carry a gun?
    This isnt insurance-its a fee.

  8. Anna Granfors January 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Was that your son calling in to Thom Hartmann’s show about an hour ago? The caller suggested the same thing, and Thom gave the idea serious consideration (and time). I think it’s a great idea, too, and I think that the NRA and GOPers and not a few Dems would promptly shoot (oops) it down, unfortunately.

  9. susie January 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    It covers the cost of damages incurred by the misuse of a gun, the same way car insurance does.

  10. dakinikat January 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    I’ve always thought we should sin tax or Pigou tax the heck out of ammunition. At least we could use the funds to offset the social costs of gun violence. The only problem I see with this is it hands more money over to insurance companies. Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations actually supported these kinds of taxes which would help with the argument.

  11. montag January 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Dandy you have overlooked the fact that insurance companies have worked very hard to have insurance regulation at a state level. Congress is not needed to start this idea rolling. This is something that could easily start with one or several states. In Massachusetts or California it could start as a voter referendum. Work the bugs out, show a profit and the industry would push it into every state of the union except Louisiana where the liability payouts would be too high.

  12. dandy January 15, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Montag, I’m sorry, but I can’t read the gist of your comment—–the ads are in the way. I can read this much: “the insurance companies have worked very”…………..

  13. susie January 15, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    Dandy, go into your display settings and change the screen resolution to the middle. See if that works.

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