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Gun Owner Liability Insurance

The Need For Firearm Liability Insurance in America
October 21, 2013

Personal injury, death, and property damage, etc. resulting from the use of firearms is nearing an epidemic level in the United States.  Nearly 20% of the states now have a rate of firearm deaths that equals or exceeds those of traffic fatalities.  With so many deaths and injuries occurring at the expense of firearms, why is there no mandatory liability insurance for firearms that mirrors that of vehicles?

The Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment to authorize all citizens have the ‘right to bear arms.’  Reflecting that decision, a study was released by the Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies that shows for every 100 citizens in the United States, there are 94.3 guns; that is nearly 300 million guns!  The number of guns in this country exceeds the number of registered vehicles by approximately 50 million, according to the US Bureau of Transportation’s 2009 report.  These numbers, along with the converging death rates between the vehicles and firearms, show that there is a significant need for attention in the area of liability insurance.

The first Ford Model T was introduced to the American public in 1908.  A mere seventeen years later, in response to mounting injuries and deaths, Connecticut began to offer automobile liability coverage to drivers in order to demonstrate financial responsibility in the event of an auto accident.  Today, every state, excluding New Hampshire, now requires, by statute, automobile liability insurance in order to register a vehicle.  Conversely, the first flintlock musket was introduced to the public before there was even an America to speak of.  In response to 237 years of mounting injuries and deaths from firearms in America, there has been absolutely no requirement for firearm liability insurance.  Say what!?  Perhaps because we are a nation born from gun violence, it is difficult to fathom the idea of firearm insurance; but if you step back and think about it, it really does make sense.

Some leaders are finally starting to realize the need for mandatory firearm liability insurance in America.  H.R. 1369, better known as the Firearm Risk Protection Act of 2013, is a bill introduced to Congress on March 21, 2013 that aims to prohibit the purchase of a firearm unless the purchaser presents proof of a qualified liability insurance policy.  If enacted, the Act would require a penalty of up to $10,000.00 for individuals who do not carry liability insurance on their firearm.  Arguably, this bill may not pass the constitutionality muster test allowing it to be enacted, as written.  However, it is major step toward all states requiring liability insurance on firearms; especially those states that have staggeringly high gun-violence statistics.

Whether it is from legal self-defense measures, an accidental discharge while cleaning the weapon, or a hunting accident, deaths and injuries resulting from the use of firearms, like those resulting from the use of vehicles, is inevitable when there 300 million firearms in America.  The law will only change if the citizens of the states speak up.  We need to let our congressmen and congresswomen know that we demand laws that create financial responsibility to owners of firearms.  For contact information of your local representative, visit this website: