Following the Bruen decision, a lot of states suddenly found their gun control laws null and void. Since these were anti-gun states, it’s unsurprising that many are trying to find new rules that they believe will conform to the ruling.
But New Jersey’s latest proposal has serious issues. Why? An insurance requirement, that’s why.
New Jersey residents hoping to carry guns in public would first be required to buy insurance and complete gun-safety training under a measure to be introduced by legislative leaders on Thursday — steps that, if enacted, would represent some of the strictest gun rules in the country.
William J. Castner, an adviser to Gov. Philip D. Murphy on firearms issues, said the legal challenges that the New York law is facing will be instructive as New Jersey finalizes its legislation.
“New Jersey at least now has the benefit of crafting this law with an eye toward defending new requirements on training, mandatory insurance, disqualifying offenses and sensitive places where guns will not be allowed at all,” Mr. Castner said.
One novel element in the proposed legislation is the statewide requirement that gun owners applying for permits to carry weapons in public also purchase liability insurance. In January, San Jose, Calif., will begin requiring all gun owners to carry liability insurance, but no state has mandated insurance as a condition of gun ownership.
Except there are issues with the comparison to San Jose.
For one thing, it turns out San Jose’s requirement is basically just homeowner’s insurance. It doesn’t require a specially-crafted policy.
However, mandating liability insurance for people who want a concealed carry permit actually does. There’s no such insurance on the market and, with New Jersey’s population, it’s not likely to create enough of a demand for anyone to actually develop it.
While I have no problem imagining New Jersey officials deciding to do something like this before even looking to see if such a policy exists, I also suspect they already know.
For them, it’s a feature, not a bug.
They can’t be accused of denying people permits if the problem is that no one can meet the requirements, now can they?
Too bad for them that yes, we can.
That’s because it’s one thing if someone is just unable to meet the requirements but quite another if it’s physically impossible for anyone to meet the requirements.
And one like this isn’t likely to survive a legal challenge anyways.
Let’s say, for example, such an insurance policy was created to meet this new demand. If that were the case, then this new requirement would amount to a poll tax. Those have long been declared unconstitutional as you cannot be charged such a fee in order to exercise a basic right.
However, some already think there’s a rebuttal for that:
“Every car on the road is required to have insurance,” said Nicholas Scutari, the Democratic president of the Senate, who is sponsoring the legislation. “We’re going to allow people to have weapons and carry them around with them without insuring them? They’re taking on a lot of responsibility.”
First, driving is categorized as a privilege, not a right.
Second, the roads are basically government property and so the government can create rules for using those roads. If I’ve got private property with sufficient area for me to drive on, I don’t need insurance, a license, or a tag to drive there. No one will say or do anything so long as I stay off public roads.
Then we get into the fact that car insurance is for accidents, not criminal acts. No insurance covers an individual acting criminally. While accidents can happen with guns, they’re a tiny fraction of the issue and are extremely rare when you consider how many guns there are in this country.
What this is, though, has nothing to do with public safety.
New Jersey wants to punish anyone who wants to carry a gun. They want to make it as hard as possible and as expensive as possible to get a concealed carry permit.
Which is what New York was basically doing before Bruen.
This will go about as well for New Jersey as Bruen went for New York.