For some time, a handful of anti-gunners have wanted to require gun owners to purchase insurance. That way, they argued, if someone gets shot with that firearm, the victim won’t be on the hook for the medical bills.
Now, I get the desire to keep victims of violent crimes from being liable for expensive hospital and rehab treatments, but the idea of insurance never really took off.
However, the mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, has resurrected the idea and has now taken to CNN’s opinion section to make his case.
In my city, a mass shooting took the lives of nine people at a transit rail yard in May. In the three weeks since, while friends and family have grieved over their devastating loss, San Jose suffered about 15 more episodes of gun violence, according to San Jose Police Department records received by my office.
No longer do these facts startle; our nation has become desensitized to the ubiquity of gun violence. After each horror, prayers and platitudes precede what can only be described as a quiet conspiracy of congressional inaction and a distracting news cycle that anesthetizes our collective outrage. We move on.
Grieving communities don’t have the luxury of forgetting. We live among devastated family members, we hear the echoes of painful eulogies, and we work with traumatized friends.
I joined several colleagues to propose a comprehensive set of initiatives to reduce gun-related harm in San Jose. These proposals include two measures that no other city nor state in the United States has ever tried: mandatory gun insurance to support victims, and mandatory gun fees to compensate taxpayers. As with many other Silicon Valley innovations, we intend to implement and test these ideas, learn from our mistakes, improve, iterate and provide a platform for others to scale them to benefit their own communities.
In other words, Liccardo wants to implement a Second Amendment version of a poll tax.
He wants to make it more expensive for people to exercise their Second Amendment rights, thus cutting off access to that right to thousands of economically disadvantaged residents in his city. That’s unconstitutional as hell, even without the whole “shall not be infringed” thing.
Liccardo thinks he’s talking sense, but quite the contrary.
Plus, there’s the fact that absolutely no such insurance exists, nor will it. Insurance isn’t meant to cover a willfully illegal act that is intended to hurt another. While you could potentially have some kind of accident insurance for firearms, something that covered a negligent discharge, or perhaps one that covered the theft of a firearm, you aren’t likely to see any kind of insurance that would cover a criminal act.
The problem with Liccardo here isn’t just that he’s spouting an unworkable idea, it’s that he’s been beating this particular horse for a little while now and it seems no one in his inner circle is interested in telling him that it not just won’t happen, but can’t happen.
Then again, when a politician gets on a tear, they expect the world to conform to their wishes rather than tailoring their policies to the world as it really is.
No insurance is going to be offered that covers the criminal use of a firearm, either by the original owner or by a criminal who somehow obtains the weapon. It would be ridiculous to even consider it, and yet here Liccardo is.
If the mayor is legitimately interested in trying to help relieve the financial burdens of those who suffer from firearm-related violence, then he’d be better served setting up a charity that would cover those medical bills. That’s not only feasible but legal.
Somehow, though, I don’t think that’s a move that will let Liccardo move up the political ladder, which is really what this is all about.