(MintPress) – The insurance industry has permeated Americans’ lives through government mandates, requiring drivers to purchase coverage and all Americans to obtain health insurance. Now, if council members in Washington, D.C. get their way, that principle could be expanded to gun ownership.
The Democratic sponsor of the bill, Washington, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, says the intent of the legislation is to provide a safety net for victims of gun violence, assuring them and their families funding to help pay for expenses relating to injury and death. It does not apply in cases of self defense, but to those involving negligent or wilful acts.
“I think there ought to be a source of money that they could count on to compensate them for their injuries,” Cheh said, according to the Washington Times.
The bill would mandate gun owners to purchase insurance with at least $250,000 worth of coverage. If passed, failure to do so within 30 days could lead to revocation of gun permits.
The insurance is centered around the argument that victims of gun violence are left without the means for compensation. Yet pro-Second Amendment advocates see it as another step away from the right to bear arms, limiting access to those willing and able to purchase the premium and unfairly targeting legal gun owners. If a victim was injured by someone not lawfully carrying a gun, the coverage just wouldn’t be there.
“Do you think for one second that the bad guys are going to buy an insurance policy,” George Lyon, president of the District’s Community Association for Firearms Education, told the Washington Times. “This is a solution in search of a problem.”
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shooting, similar legislation cropped up in seven states throughout the country. Thankfully for gun rights advocates, there’s still plenty of time to sound the alarms of opposition. The legislation in Washington, D.C. is not likely to come up for debate until later this year.
Previous attempts at mandatory gun insurance laws have been vehemently opposed by Second Amendment rights groups, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the United States Concealed Carry Association. Yet those same groups aren’t entirely opposed to the idea of voluntary gun insurance.
The NRA actually endorses its own firearm insurance, ArmsCare Plus. Coverage includes liability plans worth up to $250,000 to cover injury or property damage. Self-defense coverage is also available to cover court costs in the case of wrongful prosecution.