California Bill Would Require Liability Insurance for Gun Owners

Welcome to CaliforniaA bill has been proposed in California that, if made into law, would require gun owners in the state to carry liability insurance. The purpose is to cover the cost of damage that is caused by the guns that someone owns. This adds California to the states who have created gun liability insurance bills.

The idea of what has frequently been referred to as “gun insurance” started popping up on the internet shortly after the tragedy that happened in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Everyone wants to prevent that type of thing from happening again. Some opined that the answer (or at least, a part of the solution), was to require gun owners to carry insurance on their weapons.

Since then, some legislators have taken that idea under serious consideration. In Maryland there is a proposal that would mandate that owners of firearms must have liability insurance of at least $250,000.

In Massachusetts a bill would that would require gun owners to purchase liability insurance includes the imposition of a fine for those who own guns and choose not to buy the insurance. The fine could range from $500.00 to $5,000 or up to a year in jail.

In California, there are two bills that, if passed into law, would affect gun owners. One is called AB 231. It was introduced by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting, a Democrat, who represents District 19 and by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, also a Democrat, who represents District 51. The bill would require gun owners to purchase liability insurance to cover the cost of damage that may be caused by the weapon.

In a press release Assemblymember Ting had this to say about it:

The government requires insurance as a condition of operating a car – at the very least we should impose a similar requirement for owning a firearm. The cost to society of destruction by guns is currently being born collectively by all of us, and not by those who, either through carelessness or malice, cause the destruction. It is time to change that equation so that those who cause the harm pay the costs.

A second bill is called AB 232. It was introduced by Assemblymember Ting. If passed into law, it would provide a state income tax credit to persons who turn in a firearm to a local gun buyback program. The amount of the credit would reflect the value of the weapon (up to a $1,000 cap).

Image by Ken Lund on Flickr