Lund in NY Times: Private Insurance as a Form of Gun Control

In an article appearing in the New York Times, Professor Nelson Lund comments that if properly implemented, mandatory insurance could conceivably become a form of gun control consistent with the constitutional right to bear arms.

Lawmakers in a number of states recently have proposed legislation requiring that gun owners purchase liability insurance, an idea suggested by Lund in a 1987 article for the Alabama Law Review

"If this were done, the private insurance market would quickly and efficiently make it prohibitively expensive for people with a record of irresponsible ownership of guns to possess them legally," Lund wrote in the 1987 article, "but would not impose unreasonable burdens on those who have the self-discipline to exercise their liberty in a responsible fashion."

Buying a Gun? States Consider Insurance Rule, The New York Times, February 22, 2013. By Michael Cooper and Mary Williams Walsh, with Kitty Bennett contributing reporting.

"Both sides in a nation sharply divided over guns seem to agree on at least one thing: a bigger role for the insurance industry in a heavily armed society. But just what the role should be, and whether insurers will choose to accept it, are much in dispute.

"Lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have proposed legislation this year that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance--much as car owners are required to buy auto insurance. Doing so would give a financial incentive for safe behavior, they hope, as people with less dangerous weapons or safety locks could qualify for lower rates."

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