When people are hurt or killed by guns, families bear enormous expenses. They may have medical bills not covered by insurance, or funeral bill, as well as lost income, as well as emotional distress. Although insurance cannot undo the tragic consequences of a gun accident or a deliberate shooting, liability insurance can provide financial assistance that victims might not otherwise receive. Moreover, mandatory insurance policies create an incentive for gun owners to keep weapons safely locked away, to train in their use, and to be responsible.
We propose that liability insurance cover bodily injury to other people and damage to the property of others caused by a gun owner’s negligence (or anyone covered under the owner’s policy). The law should require a minimum of $50,000 per person and $80,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $10,000 per accident for property damage liability.
Insurance should also be available but not mandatory for non-gun owners to protect from uninsured and underinsured gun owner liability coverage. This would cover bodily injury to the victim, relatives living with the victim, and anyone with the injured victim in a gun incident or accident caused by (1) an uninsured gun owner, (2) a gun owner whose bodily injury liability limits are less than the victim's uninsured and underinsured coverage limits, or (3) an unknown shooter. The standard coverage available should be an amount equal to a policy's bodily injury liability coverage, but a non-gun owner may purchase additional coverage up to double the bodily injury liability.
We believe liability insurance should be similar to, though not exactly the same as, auto insurance (Public Act 93-297) in that a person injured in a gun-related accident or intentional shooting because of another's negligent or malicious use of a gun can seek compensation for their injuries from the gun owner and anyone covered under the gun owner’s policy, and, if necessary, initiate a personal injury lawsuit to determine fault and the amount of damages to be awarded. All members of a household with a gun must be covered under the gun owner’s policy or have their own policies.