Friday, December 14, 2012

MeanMesa Takes a Quick "Shot" at the NRA

We've Been Here Before

There's not anything more left to say about what's happened in Connecticut.  However, when the pundits finish re-hashing the grisly horror of it in search of media ratings, they seem to inevitably drift through the 2nd Amendment "soup" to at least, perhaps in a passing lament, pose the predictable question: "What can be done?"

Unhappily, the next words from their mouths have to do with NRA extortion of Congress, the fact that there are 280,000,000 guns for 3,50,000,000 US residents [unbelievably, these numbers imply that 70,000,000 Americans might be SHARING their guns with some who doesn't have one...] or that annual gun sales, aflame with the ongoing FOX "Presidential Negro Scare" roaring along at 18,000,000 -- per year!.

For the mathematically challenged having trouble with all those zeroes:

280 million guns
350 million people
perhaps 70 million without guns
and annual gun sales of 18 million

Those "next words" flowing from the pundits ALWAYS include the stoic poetic lament:

"There's is just absolutely nothing that can be done."

MeanMesa Jumps In

Realizing full well that the blogosphere will be literally oozing with suggestions one day after the bloody corpses of the five year olds are rushed from their school, no doubt still dripping from Glock induced 9 mm exit wounds, MeanMesa doesn't even hesitate to throw in its own remedial suggestion.

"Would you like the hyper-automatic 3,000 round hydraulic clip with that?" (image source)

Gun Insurance.

Gun Insurance?
Sure.  Let's look at cars and car insurance.

If you have a car which just sits in your yard, perhaps one that doesn't even run at all, most states still require you to have liability insurance coverage for it.  However, this becomes far more pressing when you drive that car out onto a public roadway. 

When you do that, you will need liability coverage in the event that ANYTHING happens that involves a peace officer.  If you hit some other car, if some other car hits you, if you get a speeding ticket, if you look suspicious or even if you simply drive through a DWI traffic stop, you are going to need to be able to prove that you have a liability policy on your car.  That's the law.

Now, the immobilized, broken down wreck in your backyard is really going to have to "thread the needle" liability-wise before a "failure to have insurance" citation would even be likely.  The point here is that our Libertarian friends would probably be more or less okay with the "driving down the road" liability coverage requirement even if they weren't so agreeable about the "permanently parked in your back yard" version of the same thing.

Fine. Now, let's talk about guns instead of cars.

Why not require liability exposure insurance coverage for a fire arm that is taken out of your house -- for any reason, no matter what happens -- in fact, regardless of who takes it out of your house and whether or not that person has your permission to take it.

That weapon, when taken out of your home, will have the insurance requirement equivalent to the "driving down the road" part of your automotive liability exposure.  When that weapon is in your home, it will, naturally, have more of an equivalence to the "immobilized car parked in your back yard" part of your automotive liability exposure.

You probably couldn't afford to insure them by the pound. (image source)

This plan would change the environment of gun ownership in a number of interesting ways.

1. A gun purchased anywhere -- at WalMart, from your brother-in-law or at the Gun Show, Corn Dog and Square Dance Fiesta in the next town -- would have to have an insurance policy, even for just the trip home.

2. Someone who got shot by your gun could file a damage liability claim with the insurance company where you bought your fire arm policy.  This would especially be the case if that shot were not fired in your home.  Your insurance company would be very eager to establish some claim of self-defense, but sometimes, that would be impossible, and then your insurance would pay for your liability exposure.

There are plenty of largely ineffective criminal statutes about shooting people, and many such cases move ahead to trial for civil damages, too.  Unhappily, most of the "outside of the home" shooters convicted in the US have nothing for a liability decision to attach in compensatory terms.  Most gun packing street thugs, for example, have no assets which could be redirected in damages to the rehabilitation of someone they were convicted of shooting.

3. The NRA and the rest of the gun crazies get nosebleeds at the mere mention of gun registration.  Gun registration, they all claim, is the first step in government gun control, but they are talking about guns being registered with the government.

However, all the information about fire arm ownership necessary for a legalizing liability insurance policy for that new gun you want to buy at the gun show would be strictly between you and your insurance carrier.  No crime has been committed, so no court with jurisdiction would have any interest in issuing an order or subpoena for the information.

State legislators could do their part by passing bills requiring insurance -- not state or federal gun registration, mind you -- liability insurance.  The penalty for walking around with an uninsured fire arm should be fairly harsh, but the penalty for committing any fire arm crime whatsoever without insurance for your fire arm should be much more.

Anyone who has ever listened to the sad tale of someone with a DWI trying to get car insurance knows how thorough insurance writers are with respect to their investigation of potential policy purchasers.  Insurance companies have learned, probably the hard way, that its really worth a lot to them to weed out drivers who are statistically likely to have wrecks with big liability exposures.

Even a auto insurance company with the most eager marketing plan has absolutely no interest in insuring the habitual drunk driver who has already driven over three trees, the neighbors' pets and a school girl.  The liability payments are simply way too high.

Hmmm.  Now we have to consider how interested in a policy holder a fire arm policy salesman might be.  Yes, he's insuring the gun, but wouldn't he want to know all about the policy holder?  People still wearing the straight jacket from the local asylum for the criminally insane could probably not get gun liability insurance policies.  Neither could convicted serial killers or even some guy who's already so pissed off at his cheating wife that he can't even speak without spitting.

If gun insured by a policy he sold had delivered all the mayhem in Connecticut, his sales career would be over, and his company would probably be totally bankrupt by the next morning after settling all the liability claims from 28 families with dead relatives.

It would be a "free market" -  "market correction," just the kind of thing that the NRA would naturally love.

It's time to either "face facts," or, at least, time to call a pig a pig.  The NRA has little to do with square chinned American pheasant hunters.  The NRA is a cheap tool financed by gun manufacturers and a similarly cheap whore of the Republican Party.  Think of it in terms of the Tea Party, a doodad hobby of the oilgarchs entirely directed at hill billies anxious to volunteer.

Although we have grown accustomed to never getting much from the Congress that can really help us, the insurance industry lobby in our Congress might actually have more influence than the NRA.  This law would create a tremendous number of new policies and new profits.

It's a sort of "half-way" move between what we have now and gun control.

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