James Taranto has a piece in the Wall Street Journal from yesterday where he takes on the not-so-new idea of Gun Insurance. For those unfamiliar with the scheme, it works like this: when you buy a gun, you must also pay to insure it against any damage "it" may cause. California legislators are trying to pass it now, but it's not exactly a new idea- having been tried and failed in Massachusetts and New York dating back to at least 2003.
Taranto focuses on an Op-Ed by political scientist HL Pholman. Pholman, like so many liberals (I don't know his political leanings, but the arguments are those made by liberals) suggest that being forced to purchase insurance would cause people to change their behavior. Which is likely true to at least some extent. He does have the fallacious idea that semiautomatic rifles (rarely used to kill humans) would be more expensive to insure than handguns (quite frequently used to kill humans), but his idea is not entirely incorrect.
Taranto deals with the behavior modification aspect, but I want to deal with another. Even if all of the benefits that Pholman asserts actually were to come to pass, this law would be terrible. Why? It punishes the innocent for the behavior of the guilty.
Think about it. The people who would purchase gun insurance are people whoa are unlikely to be murdering people anyway. Oh, some of them might use their insured guns in acts of passion, but the vast majority of weapons used to murder are used by criminals. These criminals are not going to purchase gun insurance. Even if it becomes a requirement enforced on the seller, all that means is that they'll resort to the Black Market. These are criminals- by definition they break the law.
On the other hand, someone who buys a gun and insures it legally is now being forced to pay for those "uninsured gun owners." My Second Amendment Rights are being Infringed (he claims they aren't, but they are- any hurdle; even a financial one; placed on the People by government is an infringement of my right to keep and bear arms) because of the acts of criminals. Now, let's say I'm Johnny Gun Owner, and I have my guns insured because the law says so. Then, Billy Bad Guy comes and steals my guns while I'm at work (darn, I knew I should have sprung for a gun safe instead of just a gun cabinet!), and goes on a shooting spree.
Now I, Johnny Gun Owner who has done nothing wrong, am liable for all that damage. Presumably I'll have to pay a deductible (just like you do for every incident with your car insurance or homeowners insurance), and the insurance company will be stuck for the rest. Now, maybe if he'd stolen the guns the day before, I could have registered the guns as stolen, but not now- now it's too late.
Now, before anyone starts saying, "Yeah, but," realize that we cannot legislate by "yeah, but." That's part of what got us into the mess we're in- where every American Citizen probably violates at least three laws every day.
Once more, for the Liberals- it is already illegal to murder people. It is already illegal to threaten them with physical violence, whether with a gun, a knife, or even just your fists. It is already illegal to steal guns. At what point do we acknowledge that criminals don't care about the law, and that punishing law-abiding citizens is not the answer?