In Washington, a 31-year-old man was killed by a member of his hunting party (age unknown). In Oregon, a man accidentally shot and killed his own son. Meanwhile an Arkansas hunter was accidentally shot by his hunting partner on Saturday in Oklahoma.
Weekend before last, a “nice young man” from California, age 16, was shot and killed while hunting. There were also hunting accidents in Nevada and Tennessee. So, lots of hunting accidents in America so far and peak hunting season has barely begun.
Many of these incidents happened, not while actually hunting, but simply handling guns: packing them, unpacking them, moving them, etc. The 10-year-old Utah boy was shot when someone was picking up his gun from an ATV. The Nevada tragedy occurred when a man was actually putting his rifle away.
What’s interesting to me is that we aren’t the only country in the world with hunting, nor are we the only country in the world with hunting accidents. In New Zealand this weekend, an 11-year-old was accidentally shot and killed. France just had its first hunting death of the season when a hunter accidentally shot a hiker.
So it doesn’t appear that foreigners are immune to gun accidents — I see stories in the foreign press all the time about accidental shootings. What’s different is the sheer volume of gun accidents in America versus the rest of the world. Of course, the answer is because we have more guns than anyone else. We have enough guns for every man, woman and child in America to be armed. No other Western country has this level of weaponry in the hands of untrained civilians.
It’s simple math. People are flawed. We make mistakes. People with guns make fatal mistakes. If you have guns or are around guns, you have mathematically increased the likelihood that you will be shot. There’s nothing magical about American gunfail. It’s just that we have more guns in more and more places. Our statistical likelihood of being shot is higher than those of people in France or New Zealand or anywhere else.
That’s just simple logic. And with the Tennessee State Legislature virtually ensuring that more and more of us are going to be forced to interact with firearms in their daily lives, even when they don’t want to, they’ve just increased everyone’s risk. What to do? Well, one idea is mandatory liability insurance for all gun owners. It won’t entirely prevent gunfail but it can mitigate some the economic fallout from accidents. And it can provide some actuarial data on gun negligence. Furthermore, people with a lot of claims, and thus a history of negligence, can lose their guns.
I’ve talked about this a lot in the past and the idea has resurfaced in comments; it makes a lot of sense. I shouldn’t be out of pocket for medical or property damage because someone was negligent with their gun. Someone who is routinely negligent shouldn’t be allowed to have them. So why don’t we have this already?
I’ve been told that a main obstacle is that insurance markets are regulated by the states, so the federal government can’t make that requirement (the reason states all require it of drivers is that the Feds tie highway funds to the insurance mandate). But if the Feds can now mandate that I buy health insurance, surely they can require liability insurance for gun owners, right?
Recently wingnutty states have been passing “firearm anti-discrimination” laws. Here’s one from Florida:
Senate Bill 424, a bill that would protect Florida gun owners from being discriminated against by insurance companies, is headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk to be signed into law after passing via a 74-44 vote in the state House on Tuesday.
Much to the delight of gun advocacy groups and the NRA, this means that it’s now basically illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage or increase rates for a person who owns a gun.
The bill, cosponsored by Republicans Matt Gaetz in the House and Sen. Tom Lee, says that “unfair discrimination on the basis of gun ownership in the provision of personal lines property or personal lines automobile insurance is a discriminatory insurance practice.”
This means that an insurance company can’t refuse someone a policy, or a policy renewal, based purely on their owning a gun. They can’t cancel a policy or charge extra either.
That’s so cute. Remember when Republicans didn’t like government interfering with private enterprise? Ha ha ha ha!
Liability insurance is how the free market responds to risk. Preventing insurance companies from charging more for a homeowner’s or auto policy because the risk is now greater due to the presence of firearms is clearly interfering with the free market. That Republicans get away with this thanks to some gingoistic rah-rah Murrica Second Amendment bullshit is just hilarious. The stupidity of the modern conservative knows no bounds.
Do the math, fellas. Or wait, maybe you can’t. Maybe that’s not your thing. Poor dears.