Mandatory Gun Insurance?

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    I just read an article that presented this interesting idea. A possible way to get around the gun control dead end, allow everyone to have their guns, but exercise some restrictions that may have a positive effect. Here’s the article.

    I know the knee-jerk RW reaction will be “no mandates” but what do the more thoughtful of you think about this idea?



    What does this insurance insure against? It’s not going to stop someone mentally unstable from picking up an insured gun and turning it against his neighbors. What happens if you do take someone’s insurance away? Do you get to take the gun(s), too? And – same old question – what will prevent him/her from getting another one? And how do you know who has guns or how many guns in order to collect the insurance?

    What this is, is a fine or fee for owning a gun. People who have money may pay it and still have guns lying around. People who don’t have money can still have guns lying around. As much as I’d like the mother of that man in Connecticut to not have had five guns in the house, I don’t think insurance would have prevented the tragedy.



    I can see an insurance company getting behind this if they insured bonds that gun owners were required to post

    but i don’t see an insurance backed bond being a deterrent to those who use their guns for the sport of shooting humans

    most of those shooters plan to take their own lives so they don’t have to face any consequences for their actions..

    so consequences.. financial or otherwise.. aren’t’ going to make much difference to them



    I realize that nothing can stop a crazy person from doing something crazy but I’m just wondering if making it harder to have guns and acquire guns

    (having to go steal one instead of walking into a WalMart)might be a way to put some controls who can easily get their hands on a gun.

    It seems to me we need to do something. The rate of gun violence in the US compared to all other Western countries is staggering. If other people can find ways to minimize these tragedies certainly we can. Banning auto and semi-auto weapons and multi bullet clips seems like a no-brainer. any other ideas?



    “…so consequences.. financial or otherwise.. aren’t’ going to make much difference to them.”

    True, but you can’t make laws based on what crazy people will or won’t do. There will always be people who will commit crimes. I think the goal is to figure out some way to limit their easy access to guns.


    The problem here isn’t with gun owners or even the proliferation of guns in the US. We’ve had a lot of guns in the general population for some time now but serious problems with gun rampages like the most recent this past week are the result of not taking mental health problems seriously. There are a lot of people who should be institutionalized for life. We see the signs long before these people snap but are too polite and unwilling to face real problems, as a society, to do anything about it. Take just one of many of the mentally ill in west Seattle that our government and communities just hope wont do anything like this (because hope is all our efforts effectively are): Ryan cox. His public behavior has escalated from odd (milk fixation) to property damage, then to assault. He is always released back into our community because, not despite, his mental illness results in antisocial behavior that is clearly escalating. This is the wrong response. One day he’s going to break into someones house, steal a gun, and go shoot up a bus stop. And it will be our fault, as a society, for not having kept him locked up for physically attacking someone with a baseball bat, another direct result of a mental disturbance that will not respond to therapy. Our prisons are full of nonviolent offenders. Car thieves can be rehabilitated. The massively insane with the propensity to attack people as a result of basing their decision making process on hallicinitory realities cannot.

    Of course the mental health situation in this country is one of many examples of the head-in-the-sand stance our nation takes on serious issues. As long as we continue to refuse to address tragedies such as car culture’s continuing homeland massacre, resulting in over 10x as many deaths annually as 9/11, or the massive disparity in living conditions between the American middle class and most of the rest of the world that make the antebellum South look like sesame street, our problems at home and abroad will continue to get worse, not better. We live in a world where we’ve outsourced slavery to fuel our race to the bottom and socialize our male children as predators. The only surprise is that we don’t see this type of violence more.



    I see Dianne Feistein is going to introduce an assault weapons ban in the new Congress…

    “It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”

    It’s a start. I completely agree that we need lots more access to mental health care and a very serious look at why so many kids are being put on drugs at a young age. drugs that have known side effects, including suicidal thoughts.



    Personally, I’d prefer a national gun registry, but if insurance does the trick, then I’m all for it. (I’m all for Diane Feinstein, too.)

    Why will insurance work? It will work for the same reason that car insurance works. In the same way that car insurance addresses the link between cars and car accidents, gun insurance would address the link between guns and gun violence.

    When you drive a car, you implicitly recognize that your car could hurt someone, so you have to buy insurance to cover the risk you’re creating. When you buy a gun, it’s the same deal. Doesn’t matter whether the gun is stolen by thieves or whether your kid just decided to borrow the gun for show-and-tell at school. Neither of those two things would’ve happened if you didn’t have a gun.

    When you buy or sell a gun, you create risk to society, so it’s only fair that you should bear some additional responsibility for that.



    RoomWithAView said:

    The problem here isn’t with gun owners or even the proliferation of guns in the US.*

    –Absolutely not true. I don’t understand how people can even think this. How can you miss the cause/effect relationship between proliferation of guns and an increase in gun violence?

    He elaborates:

    We’ve had a lot of guns in the general population for some time now but serious problems with gun rampages like the most recent this past week are the result of not taking mental health problems seriously.

    –This is partly true. The premise is correct, but the conclusion does not follow.

    Yes, we’ve had guns around before now, so that’s a constant. But meanwhile society has been changing all around us. In the past 50 years, we have become increasingly desensitized to violence and images of violence. At the same time, we’ve been losing our sense of communal responsibility as people have become more concerned with themselves and less concerned with the well-being of their neighbor. Nowadays, if you try to get involved in anyone else’s business for any reason, you are likely to be told to mind your own.**

    Finally, as Room, dobro, and others have correctly pointed out, we’re seeing more problems with untreated or incorrectly treated mental illness.

    These are all valid issues, but they are hardly arguments for doing nothing about guns. If anything, they are arguments for making guns harder to get. How can anyone not see that?

    No . . . gun control will not magically rid us of our violent tendencies, and it won’t fix the problem of mental illness. What it will do, however, is make it harder for violent and/or mentally ill people to hurt people with guns. That’s all.

    Isn’t that enough?




    *emphasis added

    **Why just this past month I was told to mind my own business when I said that poor folks shouldn’t waste their money on lottery tickets. ;-)



    Insurance does a great job of compensating for property damage. If my house burns down or the car gets totalled, they write me a check and all is well.

    I don’t suppose the mother of one of those kids in Newtown would care to name a cash price for which all is well.



    Thanks for your stating of the obvious. Got any ideas on how we might be able to lower the chances of such tragedies happening?



    >>I don’t suppose the mother of one of those kids in Newtown would care to name a cash price for which all is well.

    –No, and I don’t suppose any amount of $$$ can make you whole if you’ve been disabled in a car accident, either. But people still buy insurance for this contingency, even when they don’t have to.

    Beyond this, you have to remember that insurance, like the criminal code, has two functions. One is to compensate victims; the other is to discourage bad behavior. The problem here is that it’s impossible for us to appreciate the value of bad behavior that’s been prevented, because that’s not something we can quantify or track with statistics.

    How great it would be if we could just hear from all the folks who WEREN’T murdered . . . all because we now require background checks to purchase guns. Unfortunately, we’ll never know who those lucky people are, and neither will they. (Hell, there could even be some NRA supporters alive today because of that law.)

    We do, however, have a clue as to who some of the murderers might have been:

    According to FBI data, the number of firearm transactions that were denied based on mental health records increased from 365 (or 0.5 percent of 75,990 total gun purchase denials) in 2004 to 2,124 (or 1.7 percent of 123,432 total gun purchase denials) in 2011.


    Please recall that the NRA OPPOSED background checks, just as they are now opposing an assault weapons ban.



    So how bout we get rid of Alcohol also How many does that kill read below! But I doubt you would agree with that

    CT already has assault weapons ban in place. Also look at Chicago and England with very strict gun controls and very high crime rates. When Mental health Issues or criminals are involved this becomes a very difficult problem. Very much agree on improved Mental health.


    Genesee Hill

    Like many problems on this planet, I consider the gun problem in the U.S. to be hopeless.

    Too many folks love guns. If you think President Obama is hated by many now, just wait until he proposes some measure of gun control.

    Quite sad.



    Getting actual facts on anything with a political or emotional component can be hard, but I went and hunted up some numbers. These are from the government, so they must be true:

    Total death rate (2009) was just under 0.8% of the population. For this discussion, only the suicide and homicide numbers seem relevant. Guns don’t cause cancer.

    There were 36909 suicides and 16799 homicides, 1.5% and 0.7% of all deaths respectively. The homicide rates for men were 3.6x that for women, and blacks were 5.4x the rate of whites. Clearly it’s dangerous to be a black male.

    Looking at just the deaths from firearms, it’s about 2/3 suicides: 554 accidental, 18735 suicide, 11493 homicide. Put another way, 50.7% of suicides and 68.4% of homicides used firearms. We kill ourselves and others using guns, but we use other means as well.

    Bottom line is that homicides with firearms accounted for a little less than 1/200 of the deaths, or a little less than 1/28000 of the populace. Annually – these are numbers from 2009.

    The breakdown by state is dramatic. Homicide rates (not specificially firearms) vary from near zero to double the national average, plus DC as an outlier over 4x the national average of 5.5 per 100,000 in population. The top and bottom ten states (again, per 100,000 population) were:

    DC 22.5 NH (1.1)

    LA 12.8 VT (1.3)

    MS 9.3 ID 1.4

    AL 8.7 IA 1.4

    NM 8.7 HI 1.8

    MD 8.0 UT 1.8

    TN 7.9 MN 1.8

    AR 7.6 ND (2.2)

    SC 7.6 ME 2.3

    MO 7.1 NE 2.7

    Oregon and Washington just miss the cutoff, at 2.7 and 2.9 respectively. The parenthetical numbers are flagged in the CDC report as having data-quality issues. They don’t say what, but it looks to me like simple data sparseness – the numbers are too low to be accurate. Illinois was 6.8, above the national average. The South seems awfully well represented on the naughty list. Connecticut was 3.2, below national average.

    I think it would be interesting to correlate the states (all of them, no fair cherry-picking the extremes) against gun ownership rates and against state gun ownership laws. Or even against red/blue voting patterns, heh. Leaving that as an exercise…

    And what’s the story in DC, really? Double the rates of anywhere else in the country, and four times the average. With the strictest gun-control laws. I realize there are some undesirable elements (Congress, lobbyists…) but also an awful lot of armed police and various federal types to keep order.

    I’d also like to see, but didn’t immediately find, a breakdown of the kinds of killings. Random shootings, workplace grievances, mass shooting sprees, jealous lovers, gang things, etc. Might shed some light on what kind of intervention or law would actually shift the numbers. Zero would be the only truly acceptable number, but it makes sense to select for the areas with the biggest impact.




    zero would be the only truly acceptable number

    but we aren’t going to achieve that

    what we can achieve is limiting the numbers of people killed by a single killer at one time

    yes, i know the statistical chance of you or i being involved in one of those killings at this point is less than being hit by lightening…

    but that doesn’t comfort those who have lost loved ones to increasingly frequent random acts of public violence …

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