Gun Insurance Mandate

February 10th, 2013

I previously blogged about ideas to force gun owners to purchase “gun insurance” to insure against any possible harm that could result from the use of the gun. My friend and former classmate Andrew Grossman, along with David Rivkin, point out an important problem with this plan in WSJ:

But you wouldn’t know that from the current gun-control debate. Several states, for example, are considering gun-insurance mandates modeled after those for automobile insurance. There is no conceivable public-safety benefit: Insurance policies cover accidents, not intentional crimes, and criminals with illegal guns will just evade the requirement. The real purpose is to make guns less affordable for law-abiding citizens and thereby reduce private gun ownership. Identical constitutionally suspect logic explains proposals to tax the sale of bullets at excessive rates.

Indeed, an insurance policy that covered liability from intentionally using a gun to harm another would be a moral hazard. I recently explained the concept of a moral hazard to my students by using the example of Taylor Swift dating–she has a perverse incentive to break up horribly and write profitable songs.

No such policy could possibly exist, right?

Well there is–kind of. It’s called the Firearms Legal Defense Program. One firm in Texas advertises that for a flat yearly fee ($131 for an individual, or $240 for a family), they would cover  all civil and legal fees if you “use” your firearm as a weapon.

Our program covers you if you “use” your firearm as a weapon. Our members are covered under the Texas Law Shield Firearms Program any time our member displays a firearm for the purpose of using the firearm as a weapon to stop a threat, whether the member has to pull the trigger and discharge the firearm or not.

Now this won’t cover damages if you lose, but it does cover all fees (save expert witnesses).

There’s a market for everything.