The folks in New York State are at it again. Not satisfied with the comforting blanket of safety provided by the SAFE Act they seem intent on further punishing lawful gun owners by adding ever more onerous restrictions on the Constitutionally protected civil right to keep and bear arms. The latest attempt is one we’ve seen before: mandatory firearms insurance.
On the surface the premise seems reasonable: we have car insurance, why not firearms insurance? Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D – Kings) certainly thinks so. He’s introduced Assembly Bill 2260 which would require every gun owner to carry $250,000 of insurance to cover any possible negligent acts committed with firearms.
I covered why this is a terrible idea in my article about why mandatory firearms insurance is racist, but let’s recap.
The first thing firearms insurance would do is significantly increase the cost of owning a firearm. Getting a handgun in New York is already an onerous process. Adding firearms insurance on top will only serve to increase the total cost of exercising a Constitutionally protected right.
Taking automobile insurance as a baseline, the average cost is somewhere around $100 per month. Assemblyman Ortiz might not think twice about dropping a Benjamin a month on insurance, but lower income families and individuals might not be able to afford the added expense. They’d be priced out of being able to exercise a civil right.
As research studies have proven it is minority families who are most often on government assistance programs, indicating that minority families tend to have less disposable income than white families. Does Assemblyman Ortiz wants only white people to be able to own guns? Does he care care about ensuring that minority families have the same access to armed self defense as anyone else?
And we haven’t even addressed the usefulness of such an insurance program. Insurance only covers accidents, not intentional actions. It would seem that Assemblyman Ortiz understands this, since the bill requires insurance to cover negligent acts with a firearm. However the number of accidental deaths and injuries resulting from a firearm are quite low, and Ortiz’s mandate would do nothing to assist families who are victims of murders or other crimes involving firearms.
A cynic might conclude that Assemblyman Ortiz is just looking for ways to make it harder and more expensive for New Yorkers to own a firearm without providing any actual improvement to safety for the general public. The good news is that Ortiz introduced the exact same bill last year and it went nowhere, even with a liberal governor and legislature in the Empire State. Will he have more success this year? Watch this space.