sfwriter: (treadmill)
[personal profile] sfwriter
The first step, I think, has got to be mandatory liability insurance on guns.  (Including police guns, and boy they would have the highest rates given the amount of strange things that happen with guns in their hands.  Maybe police already are insured, I don't know.  Or do cities just have to pay the usual damages out of their regular budgets?)

Home gun owners certainly need liability insurance.  There are accidental shootings all the time, from children and other family members getting their hands on the things and playing around with them, guns going off by accident or "I thought it wasn't loaded" situations, people shooting themselves while cleaning their guns, etc., etc.  It would be a bonanza for insurance companies if ever there was one.  The gun is an item for which the need for obligatory insurance is more than obvious.  And people who get accidentally or even deliberately shot need some kind of compensation.

Obviously, the type of gun, the way it's stored, the quality of its manufacture, and the owner's history with gun usage and accidents - all the kinds of things that statisticians love to staticize about - would go into determining the rates.  But I think requiring realistic liability insurance would immediately put a crimp in the wild abandon with which some people buy guns by the dozen and/or leave them carelessly lying around.  They need to be made to take some responsibility, instead of getting away with the same stupid excuses we hear after every accident.

It would also incidentally get rid of Congress's cute little ban on even researching statistics about guns, gun accidents, gun violence, etc.  As time went on, more information and understanding about liablities and actual problems areas with guns would be come increasingly well documented, because insurance companies don't fool around.  They want to know the odds.  This would help take the whole subject out of the "screamingly emotional" category and nudge it towards the "conceivably rational discussion someday" direction.  I think this is a necessary early step.

Oh and -- a child getting hold of a gun without authorization in somebody's house, whether its own home or another's, should cause an immediate charge of criminal negligence on the part of the gun owner.  Period.  Whether the kid kills, harms, or with great luck causes no damage at all, the negligence in not securing the gun is the same.  So often young kids shoot themselves or others, and the parents don't get held to any degree of responsibility whatever for the gun they left lying around (or had "hidden" in a drawer or purse).

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