“I was moved, like many others, being the father of two young children, by the Sandy Hook incident and looking for constructive ways to manage gun violence here in California as well as the rest of the country,” said Assemblyman Philip Ting of San Francisco, who introduced AB231 along with Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles. “There’s basically a cost that is born by the taxpayers when accidents occur. … I don’t think that taxpayers should be footing those bills.”
Other states have introduced similar bills since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, including Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts. But the concept isn’t new.
Bills have been offered unsuccessfully in Massachusetts and New York since at least 2003, when the conference began keeping track, he said. Similar bills were proposed in Illinois in 2009 and in Pennsylvania last year. Lawmakers are introducing the bills this year in even more states after the recent shootings.
Most gun owners are already responsible with their firearms, however, and can be sued for damages if they aren’t. Executive director of Gun Owners of California Sam Paredes thinks the proposal is an attempt to “price gun owners out of existence.”
Moreover, he questioned whether it is constitutional to require someone to buy insurance to exercise a constitutional right.
“If they don’t address it in committee, I’ll guarantee they’ll have to address it in court,” Paredes said.
As with gun control legislation, criminals would ignore this, too, leaving the burden once again on law-abiding citizens.