Democratic lawmakers in California introduced a bill Tuesday that would require gun owners to purchase liability insurance to cover costs in case their weapons ever caused death or injury.
“The government requires insurance as a condition of operating a car — at the very least we should impose a similar requirement for owning a firearm,” San Francisco Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting said in a press release from the California State Assembly. “The cost to society of destruction by guns is currently being born collectively by all of us, and not by those who, either through carelessness or malice, cause the destruction. It is time to change that equation so that those who cause the harm pay the costs.”
Mr. Ting introduced the bill along with Los Angeles Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, who said the legislation would encourage gun owners to take safety classes and keep their guns locked up to get lower insurance rates, Fox News reports.
Mr. Ting introduced a second bill that would provide a state income tax credit to gun owners who participate in gun buyback programs, CBS San Francisco reports.
The executive director of Gun Owners of California, Sam Paredes, said responsible gun owners can be sued for damages under the legislation if they don’t purchase insurance. He said the proposal is part of an ongoing attempt to “price gun owners out of existence,” particularly law-abiding citizens who live in crime-ridden areas and need protection the most. He said the bill would do little good against crime since criminals have no problem breaking the law, the Associated Press reports.