After Sandy Hook, I wrote a blog post with the modest proposal for mandatory firearm insurance. There is a cost of firearm ownership imposed involuntarily on innocent third parties in the form of their injuries and deaths. Injuring or killing someone is a statistically unlikely event for any given firearm but one with high costs when it does happen — costs that you don’t see at the same level in other Western countries without our abundance of firearm ownership.
I envision something with strict liability that runs with the weapon — your firearm injures someone, your insurance policy pays. I think there would be some kind of cap on an individual policy and then, something like the medical malpractice system in Indiana where a state fund pays out for damages in excess of the individual limits. I would also suggest a tax on firearm dealers and/or manufacturers with different rates based on type of firearm and the experience of that particular dealer/manufacturer. If the guns you sell don’t often wind up being used to kill or injure people, you wouldn’t pay so much. If your shop somehow winds up with a lot of guns being used for criminal activity, you’re going to have to pay more. (A bit similar to the unemployment system. If you end up firing a lot of people, you pay more into the unemployment system.)
This is the relevant portion of what I wrote at the time:
We mandate liability insurance for cars. Why not for firearms? Bring market forces to bear on this issue. More firearms make things safer? Insurance rates will go down (if true).
Anyway, what I envision is a requirement that a firearm owner obtain liability insurance that covers injuries caused by that particular firearm. (Runs with the weapon – provides an incentive for people to secure the weapon in a way that ensures, for example, kids don’t have access to the weapon.) I would also envision a policy surcharge used to subsidize coverage for uninsured losses, treatment of mental illness, enforcement of existing regulations, and safety education efforts.