A Common Sense Plan to Curb Gun Violence
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As a veteran, long-time gun owner, and former NRA member, I think that gun ownership is an important part of what it means to live as a free citizen in this country.
What I want to see is better regulation, and I'm not talking about banning guns or "gun control" (whatever that is) where only law-abiding gun owners are punished. I'm talking about a system where responsibility is rewarded AND high-risk individuals lose their ability to buy and fire the most lethal weapons on the market. And I want a way to do this without the government being involved in determining which people are “mentally ill”. That's what we all want, right?
So I see absolutely nothing wrong with requiring training and liability insurance in order to purchase firearms and ammunition. I want to replace expensive and inadequate government background checks with all of those wonderful risk management tools that the private insurance and credit industries use every day to determine who is risky and who is not. And, I think we could use the existing state drivers license system to manage it all rather than a federal program.
Think about it. Just like a car, you could go to the DMV and show proof of insurance and a training certificate, and receive a new code on your driver’s license that shows that you are qualified to possess firearms (even if you don't currently own any). Then you would swipe your license when you go to purchase guns or ammo, and three things would happen.
1.) Your insurance provider would receive a notification that you are attempting to purchase a firearm and/or ammunition.
2.) The seller would receive confirmation that your policy is adequate to cover the desired items and would be allowed to complete the sale, or be notified that your policy is not adequate for the purchase. (And I’m sure with today’s software they’d come up with a way to be able to upgrade your policy on the spot if you qualified)
3.) Your insurance policy would be updated to include the newly purchased items OR it would record your unsuccessful attempt to purchase an item that exceeds your policy limits.
Under this plan, if you are trying to purchase ammo for a caliber that you don't own, or if you want to buy so much ammo that it exceeds the coverage on your policy, you'd be denied at the point of sale. A record of unsuccessful attempts could impact your risk rating, while a record of regular purchases without accidents or incidents could improve your risk rating.
Under this plan there would be no infringement of your rights to own a firearm. It would just be a method to manage the risk of their use - With no gun control.
Under this plan, if you're a responsible and trained citizen, the cost for liability insurance coverage should be negligible. I'll bet it could even be offset with credits from training or a record of no incidents, similar to positive points on your driving record, and I would think that insurers would want to have these kind of people in their pool. I'll bet gun ranges and manufacturers would even provide discounts to these people, because responsible low-risk gun owners using their services and products would lower their own liability.
However, if you were a high-risk individual as evidenced through markers like your age, poor credit, employment history, and/or an arrest record, it would cost a lot to insure you. And with today’s technology, any erratic or impulsive buying patterns or attempts to buy could trigger a security alert – in just the same way that credit cards have security alerts. A system like this could have thwarted every recent school shooter, or at least significantly reduced their arsenals. AND it would pay for personal or property damages incurred as a result of the actions of that insured gun owner.
But the best thing about a plan like this is that no insurance would mean no access to ammunition - even if you own a gun. That's the secret sauce. If you are a high risk individual you could still own a gun in keeping with even the most restrictive interpretations of the second amendment, but you'd need to start living a responsible and insurable lifestyle in order to fire it. To me, that’s what everyone wants.
This type of a plan would be a huge step in the right direction as liberals, moderates, responsible gun owners, AND the gun lobby would welcome it as a common sense way to keep high risk individuals from being able to acquire their own personal arsenal. This plan would serve to “well regulate” the citizenry by monitoring access to high-risk firearms and large ammunition purchases at the point of sale, reward personal responsibility, and best of all, significantly reduce “infringement” by the federal government.
Liability insurance for shooters already exists.
The DMV and insurance systems already exist.
All that's needed is LEADERSHIP and the will to make the change.
17 February 2018
“Gun ownership, even in the hands of responsible people, increases the risk of death and serious injury to others. In cases involving multiple deaths, few gun owners could afford to compensate victims' families for their losses, just as most automobile owners couldn't afford to compensate the families of accident victims. With automobiles, we require all vehicle owners to carry liability insurance. A similar approach would help with firearms.
Nothing in the constitution grants people the right to expose others to serious risk without compensation. Insurance sellers are skillful at estimating the risks posed by drivers with specific characteristics, and we could expect them to be similarly skillful at assessing the risks posed by gun owners. Requiring liability insurance isn't a total solution to the problem of excessive risk, either for autos or for guns. But in both cases, it's a positive step.”
- Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University
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