New York State Demands Insurance.. for Me but Not for Thee

New York State Capitol
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By Rob Morse

The New York Senate proposed that gun owners must have liability insurance. Only active duty law enforcement officers are exempt. The political justification was the 500 murders in NY last year. We don’t have statistics from every state, but where we do have reliable data we see that citizens who are licensed to carry a concealed firearms are the most law abiding and non-violent segment of society in the United States. Why are we taxing the people who obey the law to pay for the actions of drug gangs?

Will we have more of these honest gun owners after we tax them, or will we have less of them? We know the thugs shooting each other in Buffalo and Binghamton won’t buy this insurance. This proposed law is a tax imposed on a politically disfavored minority in New York State.

What does this law do?

Any gun owner in New York State would have to show that they carried a million dollars of liability insurance before they were allowed to own a gun. Failure to do so would revoke all the gun owner’s permits to own firearms. That prohibition lasts for life. This applies to every person who is listed as a gun owner. The insurance requirement applies to your 18 year old daughter who owns a target rifle. There are no age exemptions in the bill. The law applies to the older woman who inherited her grandmother’s shotgun.

The law holds you liable for any negligent damage you cause with your firearm. You are required to have insurance from before you buy your guns until after you sell them. You are liable for the actions of a thief who steals your gun until you report the firearm as stolen. After the fact, New York gets to determine if your gun was stored in a negligent manner. You get to fight that out in court and pay those court costs out of pocket.

This insurance does not protect a gun owner from the legal costs of owning a gun. In fact, New York is openly hostile to legal insurance for honest gun owners.

What doesn’t this law accomplish?

Police are more likely to shoot the wrong person than are ordinary citizens who have a license to carry a concealed firearm. That is not an issue of poor police training but more a nature of their job. Police deal with a large number of unknown people in an unfamiliar environment every day. The police can’t know who belongs and who is the uninvited intruder, though the police get very good at quickly figuring this out. At home and at work, you know things the police can’t know. You know that your nephew belongs in your home and that the robber doesn’t. Sometimes the police confuse the two.

This liability bill won’t pay for the mistakes made by the police. They are held harmless when they shoot the wrong person or their guns are stolen. The police are held harmless due to state statutes limiting their liability. In contrast, honest citizens are held liable. That is true today without passing this new liability insurance law.

You can call it insurance, but that doesn’t make it so. Paying this government fee doesn’t provide money to pay your legal bills when you’re sued by the robber you chased out of your house. This proposed insurance doesn’t pay your legal fees when your daughter shoots an attacker in her apartment. You get to pay those bills. This is a tax on honest gun owners in New York.

There are few exemptions listed in the senate bill. Retired law enforcement officers must buy insurance. Out of state law enforcement officers traveling through New York might need insurance as well.

There is no temporary grace period for people visiting New York for a short time. Out of state gun owners traveling through New York airports require insurance. Out of state gun owners need insurance as they drive between Scranton and their hunting camp near Manchester. There is no exemption for firearms named in probate proceedings as the family firearms are passed between generations. It is unclear if the law applies to air pistols owned in New York City.

There are no exemptions in the law for need. There is no exemption for the young woman who has a stalker and suddenly needs a gun for protection. There is no exemption for the recent rape victim who now wants a firearm to feel secure when she is home alone. The victim’s needs come second after the state has its fees.

Why was this law was proposed?

The excuse for this bill is that guns cause destruction and to pay the innocent victims. In fact, we know that carrying a firearm in public does not lead to higher rates of crime or violence. The rationale is laughable given the economic destruction caused by the policies coming out of Albany and New York City. We have fewer small businesses in New York after we taxed and regulated them. Now we’re taxing and regulating honest gun owners.

What is the real reason for this bill?

Looking at the sociological data, we see that gun owners tend to be politically conservative. This bill is nothing more than a way for New York Democrats to tax their political opponents. How ironic that the Democrat party talks about inclusion yet wants to drive law abiding citizens from New York State.

This law is more than a tax. New York also regulates insurance companies. The company that provides this insurance must obtain and maintain state permits to operate. New York politicians can turn law abiding gun owners into criminals the moment they interrupt insurance coverage.

Why propose this bill now?
We resent intrusive government. New York is called the most oppressive state in the US. We are voting with our feet, and New York lost almost one percent of its population last year. The state is in the bottom half of states for violent crime. The Democrats who control New York politics need someone to blame in the media and gun owners are a convenient scapegoat. New York politicians also get more campaign donations when they propose “gun-control”.

Gun owners are a politically disfavored minority. The more gun owners the politicians drive out of New York, the longer the politicians can stay in power.

From SlowFacts

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