Some lawmakers consider ownership coverage as a way to curb violence involving these weapons.
Lawmakers have been tossing around many ideas recently to help to reduce the instances of firearms related violence, leading some to believe that a requirement for gun insurance may be helpful in this effort.
These same lawmakers are hopeful that the insurance industry will join in by offering incentives.
In Massachusetts, a bill was filed on Friday, which would make it a requirement for firearms owners to purchase gun insurance in the form of liability coverage for an event in which the weapon was used to cause injury. These policies would be designed to provide legal recourse to those who have received such injuries, say the bill’s backers.
Financial incentives through these gun insurance policies may also decrease accidents and fatalities.
For instance, owners may be able to lower their gun insurance rates if they provide proof that they have taken training courses (or if they agree to take the classes and obtain proof of completion), and if they store their weapons properly.
According to the sponsor of the bill, state Rep. David Linsky, “Insurance companies were able to discourage smoking through the marketplace and make cars safer through the marketplace.” He also added that gun insurance companies have more leeway available to them in some cases than even law enforcement.
Linsky noted that there are already firearm storage laws in place in Massachusetts, but they are difficult to enforce, as police cannot enter a person’s home to check unless they have a warrant. On the other hand, a gun insurance company is capable of verifying whether or not proper storage is in place before they will write the policy to provide coverage.
National Conference of State Legislatures officials have said that as far as they know, no other state has adopted a requirement for gun insurance. Moreover, this bill has not been without controversy. Advocates of gun ownership feel that this will provide nothing more than additional regulation to owners who are already abiding by the law. At the same time, supporters feel that it could decrease the risk of accidents as owners who use safe storage will pay less on their premiums.