California could become the first state in the nation to require gun owners to carry liability insurance for negligent or accidental use of the firearms they own, under a new bill just introduced in the state Senate.
It has been a rough January for gun violence, and not just in the state of California. The January 21 Monterey Park shooting and the Half Moon Bay shooting two days later were responsible for just a fraction of the 31 people shot and killed in California this month, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which also details that nationwide, 128 people were shot accidentally in the month of January.
Now KTVU reports that there’s a new bill before the state Senate to require gun owners to carry liability insurance. Co-authored by Berkeley state Senator Nancy Skinner, the bill would make California the first state in the nation to require gun owners to carry such insurance.
"Guns are about the only thing that you can have ownership of, that you know can harm someone, yet there’s no insurance requirement," Skinner told KTVU.
The above screenshot details the proposed requirements, which go beyond “liability insurance that covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm, including property, damage, injury or death.” The bill would also require gun owners to “obtain proof of gun insurance, keep that proof with their firearm, and produce it when asked by a peace officer.”
Critics point out, though, that this law might have limited effectiveness. "Criminals are not likely to buy gun insurance, and so putting the onus on the lawful gun owner to pay for all the ills associated with firearms, is being considered unfair," former Santa Clara County DA Steve Clark tells KTVU. "Analogizing gun insurance to car insurance is somewhat of a red herring because if you drove your car into a crowd of people, that would not be covered by insurance because it’s an intentional criminal act.”
The New York state Senate is considering a similar bill for that state, and the city of San Jose just enacted a gun insurance requirement on January 1 of this year. This particular California bill, co-authored by Skinner and Encinitas state Senator Catherine Blakespear, is still yet to have its first committee hearing.
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