Sunday, July 14, 2013


According to the NRA, we don’t need gun safety laws because criminals will not obey these laws. The NRA’s argument is that law-abiding citizens would be the only ones affected, and they would be inconvenienced by new gun safety laws.

According to a Florida jury, George Zimmerman is a law-abiding citizen. So by the NRA’s logic, his behavior would not change one iota if there were more stringent gun safety regulations in Florida.


Suppose Florida had a law requiring law-abiding gun owners to carry liability insurance, just as most states require automobile owners and home owners to carry liability insurance.  Since insurance is sold on the open market by private companies, the cost of this insurance would be market-driven and risk-based.

I don’t know whether Zimmerman would have had trouble getting liability insurance before he murdered Trayvon Martin. If that were the case, and Zimmerman had gone out on his vigilante patrol without the required insurance, he could have been convicted and sentenced on those charges, regardless of how the altercation had played out. On the other hand, if Zimmerman was a law-abiding citizen and could not afford the insurance and consequently was not carrying a gun, Trayvon Martin would be alive today.

It puzzles me why liability insurance has not been a big part of the gun safety debate. If gun dealers and gun owners required proof of insurance at every sale, like auto dealers do today, we would not eliminate gun violence but we could reduce it and have more convictions of murderers.

Even if you accept the preposterous assertion that Trayvon Martin started the altercation, and given Zimmerman’s verdict of “not guilty”, it’s clearly demonstrated that Zimmerman has a propensity to get into trouble with guns. A market-driven insurance mandate would today raise his rates, just as if I were in an auto accident that was the other guy’s fault, my rates would go up. The insurance company’s logic is that I would have a propensity for accidents. If there were laws mandating gun liability insurance, today Zimmerman would be required to pay a substantially higher premium before the Florida police return his gun to him (which they did today.) Seems like a good idea.