No company makes insurance specifically for “gun liability” or anything like that. They do, however, make homeowners and renters insurance that covers things like accidents.
None of those policies will cover what happens outside of your property and none of them cover the criminal actions of another, but that hasn’t stopped some anti-gunners from hoping no one will notice.
You see, there’s been a push for a while to require some kind of insurance in order to own a firearm.
And now it seems Washington state is joining in the fun.
A Washington Senate bill requiring liability insurance for gun owners is providing a new twist on the argument that citizens have the right to bear arms in the state.
Senate Bill 5963 would mandate all firearm owners in Washington to acquire and consistently maintain a residential dwelling policy and/or insurance policy that covers losses and damages resulting from the accidental discharge of a firearm. (The bill can be viewed here.)
Residential dwelling insurance, as defined by the bill, means any policy that includes either property or general casualty coverage.
The legislation also necessitates firearm owners to retain written proof of this insurance in any location where the firearm is stored.
If someone doesn’t own the home, they live in but rents and owns firearms, they would be required to have a liability policy covering accidental discharge of a gun, not the homeowner themselves.
The bill requires the insurance company to inquire if the property owner owns a firearm and, if so, whether the firearm is securely stored. The insurance company must then inform the person of the requirements for carrying liability insurance that covers accidental discharge of a firearm.
If you fully own your house and it’s not under mortgage, homeowners’ insurance is not required. However, the language of this law does state that if you own a firearm, you must have residential dwelling policies covering accidental discharge. This could be what’s known as a surplus line of insurance rather than a full home insurance policy.
The bill’s author claims this doesn’t regulate the keeping or bearing of arms, only requiring that you have liability insurance to do so.
Yet that’s also the problem.
What this new bill seeks to do is create additional burdens on lawful gun owners. In order to exercise a constitutionally protected right, Washington wants to make you have a very specific kind of insurance, creating a fee you’ll have to pay each month in order to exercise that very basic right.
This is something that would never be tolerated with any other right and we all know it.
What’s more, this kind of insurance only covers accidents. Those are exceedingly rare, all things considered, and those who do hurt someone by mishandling a firearm are already liable for that.
Yet Washington state and others aren’t really seeing a major issue with negligent discharges.
Let’s put it this way. According to the anti-gun Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, around 500 people are killed in “accidental shootings” each year. While each one is a tragedy, it pales in comparison to the 21,520 murders by gunshot wounds in 2021.
In other words, accidents aren’t the problem.
So why require insurance if it’s not as a way to create an additional burden on owning a firearm?
Especially when you consider that the least responsible among us, those who have guns illegally, won’t be maintaining any kind of liability insurance.