Monday, December 17, 2012

An idea

Okay, so here's a simple idea to change the gun laws in this country: Stop trying to ban guns. Regardless of the carnage, it's not going to happen, certainly not any time soon. The NRA with its gun nuts (and weapons industry) who support them are all too loud and well-funded to beat without another such incident every two months for the next two years.
Rather, how about coming at this from another direction? Instead of banning guns, how about we make gun owners carry liability insurance on them?
After all, all states (except Wisconsin and New Hampshire) now require that automobile drivers carry at least some liability insurance to cover the cost of any damage that misuse of your automobile may inflict upon others, so why not have a similar rule for guns? The more dangerous the weapon, the higher the premium. Doesnt that seem reasonable? If you have a .22 caliber single shot, you'll pay a lower rate than someone with an assault rifle. Got more guns, carry more insurance. Take a class on gun safety, get a discount. Have a mentally unbalanced family member in your household? Then you'll pay more, just as those families with teenaged drivers pay more for auto insurance.

The best part of my idea is that if you can get the insurance companies in on this, then they will most likely join in lobbying on the side of some (not all*) gun control, because that will help their own bottom line. Why would insurance companies want to get behind this idea? Because it represents a potentially huge and untapped revenue stream, which would be mandated by the government. All in the name of public safety! And it'll be privately controlled. Guns wont be taken away, nor taxed, just insured against calamity, like insurance is supposed to be for.

But Dave, you say, how do you make sure that people claim their guns, rather than simply hiding them away and avoiding the insurance. Well, I suppose that you could use the already in place gun registries. But another route that we could go is to simply not worry about insurance on those particular guns until something happens with them. At that point, have laws in place which make whatever assets of the gun owner forfeit up to the point where recompense is made (plus a fine of some sort). That should bring out some folks voluntarily, and perhaps make the others a whole lot more careful.

Seriously, how hard could it be for the insurance lobby to find a GOP member of congress who is beholden to them? Or twenty for that matter. Instead of wasting our time engaging in protests that no one in the government pays attention to, let's try to pit two massive and well-funded lobbies against each other! Congress does a fine job ignoring voters, but they cant ignore lobbyists.

Anyway, it's just an idea. But it seems to me that when a significant segment of the population thinks that a reasonable answer to the crisis is to arm teachers, there's probably not much chance of any kind of solution banning anything anytime soon.

* they cant ban too many guns, because of the higher premium thing; but rest assured, they'll figure out where the profit ends and losses begin and guns beyond that point will be lobbied against.

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