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Liability Insurance for Guns

guns-usa

As the discussion has evolved, so has my thinking. Not only due to the comments in the last two posts, but because the conversation on Twitter has evolved. The idea of mandating registration and mandating liability insurance seems like the optimal solution, until someone comes up with a better solution that doesn’t involve doing nothing. Of course, the gun enthusiasts won’t like it because it inconveniences them, but I don’t care. What I do care about is coming up with a solution that minimizes future gun incidents and doesn’t overly burden people’s 2nd amendment rights.

The fact is guns, just like cars, create externalities. I already the know argument that guns are a right and driving is a privilege, but so what. They both create externalities and the cost of those externalities should be borne by the gun users. Using this approach also does away with a number of other problems, like determining what an “assault weapon” is, banning guns and the like. Here’s a snippet from another article that addresses this subject:

What we really need is a free market system to determine who is too risky to own a gun. Let’s involve the best risk-assessors going – insurance companies – by requiring prospective or current gun owners to carry liability insurance.

With 80 million gun owners in the U.S., insurance companies would eagerly tap a new market, providing an essential layer of scrutiny not only when the policy is issued but also with each annual renewal. Once spread across the whole pool of gun owners, risks are likely quite low. Policies could recognize the distinctions among different types of guns and how owners routinely use them. A man who proudly hangs his great-grandfather’s Civil War rifle over the fireplace is a minimal risk compared to one who routinely carries his Glock in public. Their policies can reflect the difference.

More nimble than government regulations, the free market could swiftly and accurately assess the risk of new weapon designs – and deny coverage if it’s riskier than the market will bear. In the fifty years since imposition of auto insurance mandates, insurance companies have proven to be powerful advocates for safer auto design and better driver training. As a result, lives were saved. It’s time to add their voice to this issue.

Beyond gun design, insurers could assess individual gun owners. Much like health assessments performed before issuing a life insurance policy, mental health screenings could flag those at high risk of instability. Insurers would also require proof of adequate training and determine whether a home is equipped for safe storage. A bad risk could be denied insurance. A moderate risk would pay higher rates – creating an incentive to get more training, divest of a few riskier weapons, or install better storage systems.

All of this seems right to me and it sidesteps the necessity of bans as long as it is universal and all guns are registered. Furthermore, it brings in insurance companies and their actuaries to assess risk, which they are very good at. Here’s another snippet along those same lines:

For the record: I’m not of the mind that every gun-owner is a threat to society nor should we restrict gun use for hunters, collectors and target shooters. My father owns guns, I have shot guns many times, have known people who were murdered by guns and witnessed a police shooting in 1981.

But I don’t think a widespread seizure of some 300 million American weapons will ever work. In fact, just mention “gun control,” and the very phrase shuts down conversation and invokes the vague rights and curse of the second amendment. Challenges to the constitution would never make it through the Roberts court, anyway.

What we can do is to look at gun sales through the lens of social economics.

Market-based risk pricing is the partial answer. Let’s agree that guns as weapons are inherently dangerous to society and owners should bear the risk and true social costs. Translation: Require both owners and sellers to purchase liability insurance that is universally underwritten by actuaries according to relative risk.

As for the constitutionality of imposed liability insurance, it doesn’t seem to overly burden people’s right to bear arms:

Congress should push for mandatory gun insurance. Firearm ownership is a U.S. constitutional right. But as last week’s massacre again demonstrated, it comes at a cost. Requiring liability coverage could be one way to keep the most dangerous weapons from unstable hands without infringing the law.

The biggest legal obstacle to gun regulation is the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The right to bear arms has generally trumped strict limits on ownership, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision extended the right to individuals. Imposing a hefty insurance policy could make owning a firearm prohibitively expensive for some and create constitutional problems.

But tying the price of coverage to the cost of gun incidents could work. And there’s a strong argument that damage caused by firearms gives the government a “compelling interest” to require insurance, the test for infringing a constitutional right. There’s already a precedent: the National Rifle Association offers liability insurance to members.

Moreover, the market should be efficient at weighing the risks. Insurers specialize in figuring out the odds of something going wrong and charging the appropriate amount. Car insurance premiums are based on both the driver and the vehicle. A 19-year-old man with a Porsche and a history of moving violations pays far more than a 40-year-old minivan driver with a clean record.

Gun enthusiasts won’t like this because they want to be able to buy any weapon they want, thinking only of their own needs and wants, without regard to the social costs. Until a better answer comes along, this seems like the way to go.

Related Posts:

About Robert Prather
Robert Prather formerly blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished and, unlike his co-blogger Dodd, can not kill a mime using only his thumb. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. jpmeyer says:

    Naked Capitalism had an article on this, and the author there came to the conclusion that the cost of owning guns would probably go up so much from this that it would force people to sell back huge portions of their guns to the government. This in turn would likely cause a virtuous cycle which would force an ever-dwindling number of gun owners to bear the cost of the externalities, pushing more and more of them to also be forced to sell back their guns.

    This of course is a feature of the system, not a bug.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/michael-olenick-the-lesson-of-newtown-time-to-charge-for-the-true-cost-of-gun-ownership.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  2. I’m not sure that an insurance requirement would pass Constitutional muster given the fact that statistics show that very few legally owned guns are used in a manner that could be considered negligent, which is a far lower standard than criminal liability.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Like cars, then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  4. Markey says:

    “There’s already a precedent: the National Rifle Association offers liability insurance to members.”

    Boom Baby…….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. @Doug Mataconis: That remains to be seen, but it seems like an optimal solution that sidesteps a number of land mines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  6. @Markey: I want to agree with you, but the fact that the NRA offers it means that it can be done and it diffuses objections that it’s too hard, etc. It doesn’t mean it’s constitutional, though the people who wrote the article above seem to think it’s a “compelling interest” of the government’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The idea of mandating registration and mandating liability insurance seems like the optimal solution, until someone comes up with a better solution that doesn’t involve doing nothing.

    FYI guns already are required to be registered. Lanza’s mother’s guns all were registered.

    And liability insurance doesn’t cover murder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. @Markey: I should have added that it’s one thing for people to voluntarily buy insurance, another thing entirely to have it imposed on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. @Tsar Nicholas: no, muder is handled by prison time. Why did you think that was a compelling point?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  10. @Robert Prather:

    What issues, exactly? How would liability insurance solve any problem other than to do what I think the people (not you) I’ve heard advocate it want, which is to make it prohibitively expensive for the average American to own a weapon if they want to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  11. It sidesteps the BS about the definition of assault weapons, for one. It would also make bans unnecessary because the social cost would be priced in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  12. @Doug Mataconis: Also, it might make it prohibitively expensive for the average American to own the most dangerous guns, but that is a small burden in my estimation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  13. @Robert Prather:

    Well, if “social cost” is the issue, then one need only look at the stats that show that legally owned weapons are rarely used negligently or illegally. So, given that, what’s the need for an insurance mandate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  14. So I am standing, unarmed, in a gas station waiting to pay for my cup of coffee after filling my car’s gas tank. A masked man runs in and shoots his illegally-obtained pistol at the floor a couple of times while yelling, “Everyone give me all your money!”

    One of the bullets bounces off the concrete floor and penetrates my abdomen, ripping my lower intestine apart. After $500,000 in medical expenses, I am finally able to east soft food, not just liquids.

    So thank God I can sue the criminal gunman and be covered by his specially-purchased firearms liability insurance or I’d really be up the creek. Because, of course all criminals are going to run right out at get that insurance the very moment Obama’s signature is dry on the bill, right?

    Right. So: problem solved. Once the drug pushers and gang bangers and holdup men and muggers see how expensive gun-liability insurance is, they’ll take up flower arranging or McDonalds burger flipping, I am sure. And at last gun violence will disappear.

    Wow, there is finally hope for America after all!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 11

  15. SKI says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Given guns are inherently dangerous, make the standard strict liability, not negligence.

    If you are correct that there is not much damage from guns, then insurance rates would be low. If not, well, why should the non-gun owns subsidize the costs of the gun owners’ decisions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  16. Tony W says:

    A similar approach would be to tax ammo at, say, $1 per shot or similar. Sure, some people could reload (maybe we would need it to be a tax on gunpowder content), and there would be a black market, but again the neatly circumvents the 30-round clip by making it cost-prohibitive to fill – and helps repay society for the societal costs of guns.

    II know if I paid an extra $1 per round in taxes, I bet I would be very careful about leaving ammunition laying about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  17. @SKI: Good point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  18. Dave A says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:
    Not all guns are required to be registered. There are certain state specific laws, but in many states you can go and buy a rifle from a neighbor and that’s it; no registration required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. @Donald Sensing: they won’t do anything of the sort, of course. But universal registration would make it easier to find illegal guns. Point is, we have to find a way to reduce gun violence and this would be a start.

    If people were really interested in seeing a big drop off, they would end the drug war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  20. @Tony W: agreed, taxing ammunition is another possibility and a good one. Or we could do both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  21. @Doug Mataconis: if legally held guns are rarely used for illegal activity, then the cost of insurance would be very low.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  22. @SKI:

    Do you think it’s wrong for someone to use a gun to defend themselves from a threat to their life, the lives of their family, or their property?

    A gun is not “inherently dangerous.” The only relevant question is the purpose for which it is used. Unless it’s a criminal purpose, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  23. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Do you think it’s wrong for someone to use a gun to defend themselves from a threat to their life, the lives of their family, or their property?

    Of course not. But what to do when society decides too many guns are being used not for defense but offense?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  24. wr says:

    @Donald Sensing: Thank God your nightmare scenario can never come true in America. Instead, when this evildoer runs into the gas station and pulls out his gun, you can pull yours and fire first. It’s kind of too bad that since he’s coming in the front door you are firing right at the gas pumps, and that thanks to your quick thinking the whole place goes up in a fireball, killing everyone in the place. But you’re free, darn it, you’re free!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  25. rudderpedals says:

    Bonding is a better model.

    Your run of the mill negligence is probably covered by most folks’ homeowners insurance, not that your typical policy is going to preserve your estate if your child takes out a school full of little kids.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Dave A says:

    @Robert Prather:

    if legally held guns are rarely used for illegal activity, then the cost of insurance would be very low.

    In which case the entire idea behind insurance for gun ownership which you advocate in this post is not a serious policy proposal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. @Robert Prather:
    But universal registration would make it easier to find illegal guns.

    1. So what is the point here? If it is universal registration that is the goal, just pass it and be done. Why the charade with the insurance requirement?

    2. Exactly why do you think that there can ever be such a thing as universal registration? Everywhere it has been tried it has failed.

    But plenty of New Yorkers have chosen to own guns outside the official system. In a city that, as I write, has roughly 37,000 licensed handgun owners and about 21,000 rifle and shotgun licenses, the running guesstimate of illegal firearms stands at two million, give or take a bit. That’s the number the U.S. Department of Justice has used in its official publications in recent years. …

    According to the Small Arms Survey (PDF) at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland:

    Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states. It may appear to some outside observers—especially Americans—that Europeans have blindly surrendered their gun rights (Heston, 2002). The reality is that the citizens of most European countries are better armed than they realize. …

    Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones. …

    “Greatly outnumber?” Just how greatly?

    Well, says the Small Arms Survey, a research outfit established by the Swiss government, the United Kingdom, with just shy of 1.8 million legal firearms, has about four million illegal guns. Belgium, with about 458,000 legal firearms, has roughly two million illegal guns. In Germany, the number is 7.2 million legal guns and between 17 and 20 million off-the-books examples of things that go “bang” (a figure with which the German Police Union very publicly agrees). France, says the Survey, has 15-17 million unlawful firearms in a nation where 2.8 million weapons are held in compliance with the law. …

    In a white paper on the results of gun control efforts around the world, Gun Control and the Reduction of the Number of Arms, Franz Csaszar, a professor of criminology at the University of Vienna, Austria, wrote, “non-compliance with harsher gun laws is a common event.”

    There are, so we are told, about 250 million guns in America. Estimates in fact range from 190 million to more than 300 million. No one really knows, but it certainly is a huge number. Very few of these guns are registered now with anybody. Exactly why do you think that these owners will put their names on a government ledger when it will mean enormously greater expense?

    And just how will any of that “make it easier to find illegal guns?” Do you think that law enforcement agencies are not trying to find them now? Seriously, explain the process why a database of registered, legally owned guns will make it easier to find illegal guns. I would truly be interested in that explanation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  28. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Not a well framed question. I think people should be able to buy simple guns for self defense, I also believe that many achieve the opposite. Buying a handgun increases risks to themselves, etc.

    Policy can recognize the reality.

    See also how Mrs. Lanza’s guns protected her family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  29. @Dave A:

    In which case the entire idea behind insurance for gun ownership which you advocate in this post is not a serious policy proposal.

    Not true at all. I don’t happen to be as sanguine as Doug is about the use of illegal firearms. You have to remember, it’s not just the gun that is being evaluated and insured, the person is too. So a person who has a history of beating his wife would face a very high premium. You need to think these thing through more thoroughly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  30. Anderson says:

    @Dave A: The point is, we’re just shooting the bull about the liabilities associated with gun ownership, whereas insurance companies very likely would make decisions based on the actual data.

    Given that, unfortunately, AR-15s and their like will not be banned outright, I’m open to second-best measures.

    And I think that Prather, and serious gun owners like him, are absolutely right to be looking for measures, instead of rejecting all limits out of hand with the same tired arguments. Because if some serious restrictions aren’t enacted, there will come a point when the public says “enough.” Newtown apparently wasn’t it, but there are lots of guns here and lots of crazy/evil people. Britain said “enough” at one point. Australia said “enough.”

    And what happens here when the public says “enough” – perhaps after some massacre that makes Newtown look like just the opening reel – may be a lot more detrimental to legit gun owners than anything Prather et al. are suggesting now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  31. John,

    What you believe and what the Second Amendment actually says, based not just on its words but on the history behind its drafting as explored in the majority opinion in D.C. V. Heller, are two very different things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  32. john personna says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    Registration does not have to be 100% in year one to be a good thing. Compliance would increase as wills and estates are settled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  33. @Donald Sensing: well one reason it would be easier to find illegal guns is that any gun that isn’t registered is ipso facto illegal. Regulations could be imposed at shooting ranges that they check each gun that enters the facility to make sure it is registered and insured. Otherwise, the shooting range could have its insurance pulled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  34. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I think you missed some key words there.

    “Simple guns” satisfy the right to bear etc. Tommy guns are already restricted. The rest is negotiation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  35. Steve says:

    To echo Donald’s point a bit differently.

    Who is helped by this proposal? Insurance is typically used to insure negligence, not intentional torts. Is there evidence demonstrating that victims of negligent gun injuries are going uncompensated by the tort system. None has been presented here as far as I can tell.

    Assuming that is not an issue and that is less about insurance and more about creating a tax disguised as insurance to satiate the desire of some to ban guns, how does it pass constituional muster? Presumably, like poll taxes, taxing a behavior that is held to be a fudamental right under the Constituion would seem to be problematic. That said, in the health care case, the Court permitted a minor tax (penalty) for the failure to purchase mandatory insurance, but there was no underlying Constitutional right at issue there. I would think that a tax on the ability of a newspaper to publish stories or a tax on the ability of one to exercise one’s right against self-incrimination would not be viewed favorably. It would seem to me that the only difference here is one of policy preference and not one based in law anywhere. Curious about the view of those advocating this “insurance” on these hypotheticals.

    And to be a bit snarky, wouldn’t this be racist in the same way that laws requiring ID to vote would be? By that I mean such laws would necessarily discriminate in a socio-economic fashion and would be therefore be “racist.” (I am aware I am skipping a couple of steps in the anlysis there, but it the end state would be the same). So are those advocating this tax (excuse me, insurance) on guns in any way concerned about the fact that imposing such insurance would disproprtionately affect minmorites, or does that concern not arise when trying to compel a policy that they prefer such as gun control? Frankly, where are those same individuals regarding the simple reistration requirement? Surely the effort required to register a weapon is comprable to the effort required to get an ID (especially in those states where it is provided free of charge to those who cannot pay).

    In short, my view is there is only one way to legally impose more gun control then there already is (much of which is unConstituional IMHO). Change the Constitution. And this does not necessarily mean getting rid of the 2A. Change the Constituion to permit the tax (insurance) or what have you. Things do not have to be all or nothing. Until then, treating the 2A differently under the Consitution than other rights provided therein seems intellectually hollow.

    (Speaking as a non-gun owner and one who is personally perplexed by the need some feel to own a gun (in many circumstances). But I am able to separate my personal feelings from what should and sould not be permissible under the Constitution absent amendment. I am just interested in hearing from thoe advocates in how they square these desires Constiutionally and how they would feel if similar taxes were imposed on other Constitutional rights.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  36. @Steve: It’s not at all clear that this would be unconstitutional. Scalia specifically noted that just because you have a right to a gun doesn’t mean they can’t be regulated, or in fact, banned. He left the machine gun ban in tact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  37. Sandman says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: But what to do when society decides too many guns are being used not for defense but offense?

    Are you referring to the gun control advocates in society who are in the minority, or the pro-gun advocates in our society who still believe in our constitutional rights and are still in the majority?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Well, if “social cost” is the issue, then one need only look at the stats that show that legally owned weapons are rarely used negligently or illegally.

    How about legally-owned guns that are stolen? And of course your cherry-picked b.s. stat excludes suicide. How about accidental shooting? And how do you define “rarely?” And do you not track the fact that “rarely” results in death? People rarely fly jets into skyscrapers. People rarely kill anyone when they drive drunk.

    A gun is not “inherently dangerous.”

    Possibly the dumbest thing you’ve ever said. Knives are inherently dangerous. Nerve gas is inherently dangerous. And so are guns. Tools designed to kill people are obviously inherently dangerous. To argue otherwise is to argue that private possession of nuclear bombs is not inherently dangerous. After all, they’re rarely used.

    The fact that you are reduced to patently ridiculous arguments just demonstrates how threadbare your reasoning is. Nothing so compellingly makes the anti-gun argument as the tortured rationalizations of gun advocates. Your IQ’s all drop 30 points the minute you start. Deerrrrr. . . me like bang bang.

    Here’s what you’ve got: 2d amendment. Every other word out of a gun cultist’s mouth is profoundly stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    A gun is not “inherently dangerous.”

    That’s a clown answer, bro. This statement alone indicates how little you know about guns and how unfamiliar with their use you are. A gun is a mechanical device that, when used as intended, sends one or multiple rounds of ammunition at a great rate of speed over distance and is specifically designed to penetrate soft human flesh to wound and kill — if that’s not dangerous, I don’t know what is.

    Any responsible gun owner or shooter, or anyone who’s grown up around them, will tell you that guns are inherently dangerous and are to be handled with care, respect, and an appropriate sense of caution. Idiots who don’t consider guns inherently dangerous get themselves — or worse, other people — shot by accident all the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    OK, I skipped a whole bunch of comments to say this… Guns come with a societal cost. Yes? No? As such, does not society have the right to TAX gun owners for their guns? Their ammo? Yes? No?

    We have an issue here. We need to deal with it. I own guns. I have seen the cost to society of my gun ownership (murder, suicide, orphanage….) I am willing to pay for it. How much????

    In truth, I don’t know how much. But as long as I can take care of a 666 lb pig or a 444 lb bear I am game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  41. @Sandman: whether this proposal violates your constitutional rights is yet to be determined. We already know that Heller allows for regulation, the question is how much and what kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Idiots who don’t consider guns inherently dangerous get themselves — or worse, other people — shot by accident all the time.

    Like the MO idiot who shot his wife while trying to install cable…. I am not kidding

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  43. @michael reynolds:

    The fact that you are engaging in the rhetoric you are tells me that this isn’t really about solving problems. It’s about the fact that people on the left don’t like guns. Unless they’re in the hands of the state, apparently.

    No, let me rephrase that. People on the left don’t like people who like guns. You don’t like the people. That’s kind of pathetic.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    People on the left don’t like people who like guns.

    Please. I’ve shot everything from an antique 18th century dueling pistol to a full auto AK and a belt-fed M60. I think guns are, for lack of a better word, cool. If I had my druthers, I’d own a few dozen and have a shooting range in the basement.

    But, you know, it’s not all about my childish desires. I also think fire is cool, but that doesn’t mean I go around setting a bunch of fires just because I like to watch stuff burn down.

    I have no problem with people who like guns, as I’m one myself. I do, however, have a problem with people who fetishize guns, who need guns on an emotional level, who use guns to fill whatever other shortcomings they may have, who get off on guns for a cheap sense of power and control. That’s what’s pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Actually, I’ve repeatedly advanced a solution that doesn’t touch the Founders Great Mistake, or snatch the penises, er, guns away from the cultists. I’ve said it has to be a hearts and minds campaign. That we have to change people’s attitudes and make a generational shift, leaving this particular stupidity behind with the older generations.

    That doesn’t change the fact that you’re advancing utterly moronic arguments. Guns are not inherently dangerous? How did that make its way off your keyboard?

    Let me summarize the pro-gun arguments:

    1) 2d Amendment.
    2) Me like bang bang, big noise, yay!
    3) Must spend thousands of dollars on weapons so I can shoot quail for food. Save on expensive chicken.
    4) N*gg*rs will rape our women!
    5) Lacking a manhood ceremony in western culture I need a gun to be sure I’m a man.
    6) Self defense. (Against? Well. . . people with guns.)
    7) Zombies.
    8) Need gun so when the US Army comes in tanks to take my guns I can shoot at them.
    9) What if I need to kill a tyrant? Like, say, Barack Obama?

    #1 is an argument for the right to have a gun. The rest are the arguments why you should have a gun. They are all stupid. And all the arguments supporting them are stupid. 100% are stupid. That’s my problem with them. And a little bit because it makes me squeamish seeing otherwise bright people reduce themselves to abject imbecility in advancing these arguments.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

  46. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds: 4) N*gg*rs will rape our women!

    Now that’s funny. If you were to do any studying and apply a bit of critical thinking, you’d find that the most recent movements for gun control, in the post-Civil war period and today, all started to keep guns out of the hands of blacks and other minorities. The current gun ban movement started when the Black Panthers started lawfully carrying firearms in California. I’m not fan of the Black Panthers but it is amusing you use the gun banner’s reason but attribute it to those who support the rights of all citizens to self defense and their enumerated rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Proving what? Seriously. What point do you think you just proved? You know how a math teacher makes you show your work? Show me what you think you just demonstrated that in any way counters my point. I want to see the logic laid out.

    Here, I’ll give you some different history: the most frequent use of militias in this country’s history was in suppressing slave revolts. In the South. Where the gun cult is strongest.

    So, see, if you look at those two facts, your fact and my fact, how do you reach the conclusion that my initial crack was wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  48. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Unless it’s a criminal purpose, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    As we well know, the presence of a gun in a household — even a non-criminal household! — greatly increases the risk of that gun being used against a household member, whether through accident, suicide, or in an argument. There’s lots of ways to die from a gun without anything “criminal” coming into it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Funny how in the Trayvon Martin case, the gun enthusiasts didn’t immediately call for arming all black teenagers as a solution to them getting shot down by neighborhood watch vigilantes….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  50. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And you are demonstrating compassion for Mrs. Lanza?

    She bought those things to protect her family. You seem focused on protecting her right to assault rifles and 30the round magazines, and the outcome be damned.

    (Mrs. Lanza would have been safer guided to better choices.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  51. JKB says:

    Really, can the gun banners not keep up. Liability insurance, ammo taxes, etc. ad infinitum have been deployed over and over. What makes the current geniuses think repeating the same argument will work this time? Especially, when reality is pointed out, they let slip this is a way to make gun ownership to expensive for the non-elite?

    As Steve said, where is the evidence of the torts and damages this insurance would cover that are currently being avoided by the gun owner/user having no assets to seize? But it is interesting that the Left are against requiring illegal aliens to have insurance to drive a car even as their is lots of evidence of the inability to recover damages from those individuals.

    Gun liability insurance is generally not written as a separate policy or rider since there is a very low risk of loss by lawful gun ownership and usage over the whole pool of gun owners.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  52. sam says:

    Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not sure that an insurance requirement would pass Constitutional muster given the fact that statistics show that very few legally owned guns are used in a manner

    Why should that factual finding, even if true, bear on the constitutional question?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  53. @JKB: well, if there is that low of a risk it shouldn’t cost too much. What it will do is provide risk assessments of both the weapon and the person. There are some people, like wife beaters, repeated drunk drivers, who either shouldn’t have a gun, or failing that, should pay higher risk premiums.

    You call it a failed argument, but that is mostly due to the gun lobby. We should keep trying until we succeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  54. @JKB: you’ll also note, there is nothing in this post about banning guns. You apparently didn’t read the post or you would know this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @sam:

    He makes a non-sequitur argument on law, where normally Doug is a professional.

    It goes to my theory that gun supporters lose 30 IQ points when attempting to make their case.

    Given that cars are only rarely involved in fatal accidents when weighed against the total number of miles driven, we shouldn’t be able to require insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @Robert Prather:

    All their arguments go directly to banning because that’s how they’ve been brainwashed. It doesn’t matter if you make a case for requiring insurance, or I make a case for a hearts and minds approach, they have a hammer so they see a nail. The fantasy is a total gun ban with soldiers going door to door and shooting anyone who resists. That’s the image they’ve been programmed with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

  57. JKB says:

    @Robert Prather:

    Can you show that there are damages due from lawful gun usage that are going unsatisfied due to lack of assets by those libel? Are people’s entire estates being wiped out because they are not buying affordable liability insurance then ending up libel for damages due to lawful gun ownership/usage?

    If not, why should insurance be mandated except to impose external approval for the exercise of a person’s 2nd amendment rights. What if they choose to self insure?

    BTW, domestic violence is already a reason to prohibit gun ownership. I’m not sure if it requires a real conviction or just an arrest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  58. @JKB: I can’t and I’m not going to look it up. While this is insurance, that isn’t the only reason to want it. Actuaries from the insurance company will assess risk of both the weapon and the person buying it and price in the risk for that individual and the weapon he buys.

    You can keep screaming “2nd amendment rights” until you’re blue in the face. You seem to consider that a concern that overrides all others; it doesn’t. The Heller decision holds that there is an individual right to own guns and that they can be regulated. The only question going forward is how can we minimize future gun violence while not violating Heller.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  59. JKB says:

    @Robert Prather:

    You are right. You purposely avoided the “banning” keyword. I was wrong in attributing the same argument used by gun banners in the past with banning now.

    Please read the previous as “The gun controllers…”

    However, I do consider making ownership to costly a gun ban at least for those lesser citizens who are unable to afford their inalienable rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  60. @JKB: where in the constitution does it mention inalienable rights? It’s in the Declaration of Independence but that isn’t legally binding. It is, however, one of the most beautiful documents ever written.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  61. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    When the governor of New York says (not a week ago) “confiscation could be an option,” is it at all surprising people’s hackles go up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  62. JKB says:

    @Robert Prather: While this is insurance, that isn’t the only reason to want it. Actuaries from the insurance company will assess risk of both the weapon and the person buying it and price in the risk for that individual and the weapon he buys.

    In other words, you want to impose external approval upon gun ownership and believe that by going “insurance” rather than via government employee it will pass constitutional muster?

    Many gun owners have substantial assets. Do you not think that if “gun lability insurance” was needed to protect those assets, it would already be a popular product?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  63. @JKB: again, you’re basing this on your narrow self interest without considering the externalities of gun ownership. They are inherently dangerous and need to be regulated as such.

    Not all gun owners have substantial assets and the insurance will be beneficial for them should something happen.

    SCOTUS will determine if it’s constitutional, if it ever gets passed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  64. JKB says:

    @Robert Prather:

    We can play the semantic game all you want. But there are natural rights and not all are enumerated in the Constitution. However, the natural right to self defense is incorporated in the right to keep and bear arms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. Jib says:

    Insurance would work well. The risk profile of a gun would involve a lot of variables about the gun, the owner, how the gun is stored, how it is used. Guns keep in a locker at a gun range would be very cheap to insure. In general, rifles would be cheaper to insure than handguns since handguns are very easy to MIS-handle.

    I am pretty sure the insurance industry would end up with ratings that take into account handgun vs rifle, caliber, and rate of fire for a set amount of time to come up with gun risk rating. Combine that with owner risk rating, modify for how the gun will be used and stored (hunting, gun safe, concealed weapon or in a locker at a gun range) and you have your risk profile.

    I would think most guns would be so cheap that you could insure several years with a small extra charge when the gun us purchased. The BIG advantage to the is owners risk part, which is the true issue. By having an industry track this (and make a profit as they do it) we will shortly identify the high risk owners and they will become uninsurable.

    Nice hack to the system. You figured out how to get a large industry to profit from gun regulation which setups a nice counter weight to the lobbying power of the gun industry and the costs of the system will be born mostly by the most dangerous guns and the most irresponsible owners.

    Well done, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  66. steve says:

    The only way to defend yourself is with a gun? Should we consider health care as being incorporated into the right to life? What about those who cannot afford the pursuit of happiness the way they would like due to lack of funds?

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  67. anjin-san says:

    Do you think it’s wrong for someone to use a gun to defend themselves from a threat to their life, the lives of their family, or their property?

    Do you actually know someone who has done this? I don’t. I do, however, know people who have gotten themselves in trouble with guns. I know people who have been shot. I know people who had a loved one murdered with a gun.

    A gun is not “inherently dangerous.”

    Really? I was trained in gun safety by an expert. He told me they are very dangerous. Do you know something he did not? I have been handling them for 45 years, and I am very careful with them. I am convinced they are dangerous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  68. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I’m confused on a few points here.

    1) What is this idea intended to achieve?

    2) How will it actually achieve it?

    My standard notion in cases like this is to set aside the elaborations and simply look at the idea, and then see what it will achieve. As noted, there’s no great financial crisis involved from guns (unlike the rationale for ObamaCare), so that doesn’t make much sense. The effect seems to be “make guns more expensive to own,” with the insurance companies getting the windfall as a way to avoid calling it a tax. That seems to be aimed at avoiding the “it’s all about giving more money and control to the federal government” argument by sloughing it off to the insurance companies. To me, that smacks of “political laundering” — essentially washing the money through the private sector before it’s then taxed by the feds.

    I’m not seeing the connection between “mandatory insurance on guns” and “reducing gun crimes.” The legal penalties for committing gun crimes are already pretty severe (unless, apparently, you’re a big-time journalist); adding in financial penalties seems pretty trivial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  69. anjin-san says:

    Funny how in the Trayvon Martin case, the gun enthusiasts didn’t immediately call for arming all black teenagers as a solution to them getting shot down by neighborhood watch vigilantes….

    Game, set, match.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  70. JKB says:

    Hot news….Seems rich, white guys are given special dispensation to violate gun laws….as long as they have those connections in the White House and are furthering the political goals..

    Question…since when are law enforcement officers qualified to approve violations of statutes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  71. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Actually, “don’t go up and start beating the crap out of some guy who ‘dissed’ you” is an even better way to avoid getting shot by “neighborhood watch vigilantes.”

    It’s worked wonders for me so far. I’m closing in on 3 times Martin’s age, and I’ve never once been shot. Not even a little.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  72. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    No one opposed black teenagers arming themselves except the state legislatures and Congress who’ve made it illegal for those under 21 to possess a handgun.

    To bad they weren’t rich white guys with connections in the Obama White House…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  73. JKB says:

    @Robert Prather: need to be regulated as such.

    You mean like being prescribed in the manner and place of carry, the prohibition on discharging in certain places, the prohibition on brandishing. The complete prohibition of discharging in the direction of another person with out justifiable self defense/defense of others.

    What else do you wish to regulate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  74. anjin-san says:

    @ jenos

    some guy who ‘dissed’ you”

    Right. Because black men have a short fuse. If they think they have been “dissed”, they will respond with violence.

    It must suck being you – going through life scared.

    “don’t go up and start beating the crap out of some guy who ‘dissed’ you” defend yourself against an armed stalker

    FTFY

    I’m closing in on 3 times Martin’s age

    Reading your comments, I think most of us assumed you were around 23. How sad that you have missed out on growing wiser as you grow older.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  75. Herb says:

    Funny that race is mentioned. I’ve had a suspicion that in 2050, or whenever white people become the minority in the US, that the side most concerned about gun control will be the white conservatives.

    That’s not to say they’re racist. Just that fealty to the 2nd Amendment isn’t the driving force here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  76. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    I will repeat it. This one is so simple even you should be able to grasp it:

    Funny how in the Trayvon Martin case, the gun enthusiasts didn’t immediately call for arming all black teenagers as a solution to them getting shot down by neighborhood watch vigilantes….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  77. @Herb: That’s a good point. With everything from the tea party to gun obsession, it seems like there’s a lot of fear there. The country’s changing, the culture’s changing and so forth. A study of the psychology of this would be fascinating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  78. @Rafer Janders:

    And the presence of a married couple in a household greatly increases the chance of divorce. And the presence of of a television set greatly increases the chance of watching NFL games. And the presence of chocolate candy greatly increases the chance of tooth decay. And on and on and on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  79. Rafer Janders says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    And divorce, NFL games and tooth decay are as deadly and irreversible as a gunsho…oh, wait. No, they aren’t. Those are just normal things in daily life, unlike being shot to death.

    I see we’re back to the “we can’t prevent all harm, so, oh well, better not try to prevent any harm!” stage of the argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  80. matt says:

    @john personna: An assault rifle is a selective fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. It is not to be confused with assault weapons.[1] Assault rifles are the standard service rifles in most modern armies. Assault rifles are categorized in between light machine guns, which are intended more for sustained automatic fire in a light support role, and submachine guns, which fire a pistol cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge.

    Don’t let some little facts get in your way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @matt:

    Nice fetish you’ve got there. More detail, please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  82. Janis Gore says:

    @Steve: Oh, Good Lord, more legal crap. I was married to a Jesuit lawyer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  83. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why do you call it a fetish. In law, precision matters. It is due to a lack of precision in words that it is a violation of US export law to give a Cuban national a life jacket. How much more useful the regulation would have been if the morons writing it had used “buoyancy compensator” instead of life jacket in the list of dive equipment controlled for anti-terrorism. One is for diving, the other is for not drowning.

    Look at how messed up Obamacare is because its advocates and authors couldn’t be bothered with a bit of precision in language.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  84. anjin-san says:

    couldn’t be bothered with a bit of precision in language.

    This is coming from the guy who could not undersand what Rafer was saying a few comments back?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  85. Andy says:

    @Robert Prather:

    The only question going forward is how can we minimize future gun violence while not violating Heller.

    I think what this idea fails to do is demonstrate how that is accomplished. How, exactly, will mandatory insurance minimize future gun violence?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  86. @michael reynolds: I think you’re right and I’m beginning to pick up on it. It’s always tyranny to mess with their guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  87. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I’m confused on a few points here.”

    Well, yeah. As always. And as always, you should go to your standard bag of tricks — think of the worst possible answer to any question and then fight for that. Oh, and make sure to make yourself look as petty, churlish, and stupid as possible along the way.

    Glad I could help you out, little boy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  88. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “Reading your comments, I think most of us assumed you were around 23″

    Really? I tend to think he’s 15, and desperately wanting to be taken for a big boy. My fear is we’re both wrong, and that he’s actually racked up multiple decades while maintaining the moral and intellectual age of a lonely adolescent. If he didn’t insist on acting like such a loathesome toad, we might actually feel sorry for him… which is probably why he insists on acting like such a loathesome toad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  89. JKB says:

    @Andy: How, exactly, will mandatory insurance minimize future gun violence?

    I like the logical implication that since the right to keep and bear arms is an enumerated right, government-run exchanges will have to be established in order to give affordable gun insurance to those deemed to have prior high risk factors. This will all be paid for by a medical trauma supply tax that will be imposed on bandages, sutures, hemostatics, etc. used to stop bleeding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  90. @Andy: Did you read the post? Weapons are risk assessed and the people who buy them are risk assessed. Actuaries will then set premiums based on their relative risk. That’s how.

    It will mean some people won’t be able to buy guns either because they are too much of a risk or the weapon is too dangerous. The reason they won’t be able to buy, in many cases, is because the premiums are too high for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  91. wr says:

    @JKB: It’s pretty clear there are only two arguments the gun fetishists are pushing here:

    1) It has absolutely nothing to do with penis size. There is no correlation between a near-sexual fixation on guns and insecurity about one’s masculinity.

    2) People who don’t love guns are pussies who have small penises.

    The fact that the gunnies can hold both of these concepts in their minds at the same time and not see even a tiny contradiction suggests that no amount of logic is going to work on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

  92. Herb says:

    @Robert Prather:

    “With everything from the tea party to gun obsession, it seems like there’s a lot of fear there.”

    Nailed it. “Fear” is exactly what I was thinking of, although often it seems we go beyond fear, veering into paranoia. Paranoia about invasion, crime, or political turmoil leads them to think they need their weapons.

    Paranoia about the nanny state and unintended consequences leads them to resist any gun control measures, even the reasonable ones.

    I just can’t believe that Constitutional principle plays much of a role. I might have….but not after the “deport Piers Morgan” and “arrest David Gregory” campaigns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  93. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    You should be at the mandatory Kwanzaa celebration. A report will be made to Acorn HQ…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  94. @Herb: you nailed it as well. I wasn’t even thinking of this Piers Morgan stupidity. Honestly, they want to deport him over expressing an opinion? What an insecure bunch of jerks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  95. @JKB: you keep saying enumerated right as if it deflects all attempts at regulation. It doesn’t. Heller said they can be regulated. The job now is to find the right regulations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  96. Spartacus says:

    @JKB:

    As Steve said, where is the evidence of the torts and damages this insurance would cover that are currently being avoided by the gun owner/user having no assets to seize?

    Are you seriously suggesting that Nancy Lanza’s estate is large enough to compensate the 27 families who lost loved ones in Newtown? Or that unemployed ex-convict William Spengler’s estate is large enough to compensate the families of the 3 firefighters Spengler killed last week?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  97. Spartacus says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    Seriously, explain the process why a database of registered, legally owned guns will make it easier to find illegal guns. I would truly be interested in that explanation.

    It’s ironic that all of the gun rights advocates on these sites argue that more laws aren’t necessary because the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law-abiding even though they fail to obey some of the most rudimentary legal requirements for ownership.

    Nevertheless, you make a compelling case that the rate of compliance with registration laws will be very low, but that is not an argument for not requiring registration. There are many benefits that come from registration, and there are many things society can do to increase registration. As Michael Reynolds argued a couple of weeks ago, this is a long-term problem that will require winning the hearts and minds of people.

    If you just step back and read the comments supporting gun rights or listen to Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, it’s clear that they don’t want ANY new restrictions because . . . well, they just don’t want them. That position will die the same slow death that the far right is dying.

    Then, there are those gun owners who claim they support “reasonable” restrictions like ensuring every owner is mentally stable, trained in the use and safety of guns and is not a convict. Yet, they’re all opposed to registration. So, how do you ensure that people that currently own guns have their guns taken away once they become convicts or mentally unstable unless you know who owns a gun and you check up on those people periodically?

    Those opposed to registration and other basic restrictions are either rabid idiots like LaPierre or there full of b.s. In either case, they’re not capable of making arguments opposing reasonable restrictions that will persuade an engaged public. They don’t know this yet, but they will lose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  98. anjin-san says:

    Are guns dangerous?

    Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012

    A 3-year-old Gilroy boy – the son of a San Jose Police officer and a Gilroy High graduate who many described as a “fine young man” – died from a gunshot wound Thursday evening, according to the Gilroy Police Department.

    According to reports, the boy likely accidentally shot himself with a handgun in the upstairs bedroom of a home on the 7500 block of Kentwood Court off Third Street in Gilroy around 6 p.m. Thursday. Police confirmed late Thursday night that the boy died from his wounds en route to the hospital.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  99. Argon says:

    @anjin-san:

    Do you actually know someone who has done this [defended their persons or property with a gun]? I don’t. I do, however, know people who have gotten themselves in trouble with guns. I know people who have been shot. I know people who had a loved one murdered with a gun.

    I know of none personally, too. I had a friend who was killed along with his girlfriend when her ex-husband shot them both because he couldn’t come to terms with his divorce. I have four friends who were shot at in a car. The rifle bullet went through the trunk and lodged in the back of the driver’s seat. Really, the ratio of ‘protection to trouble’ is something we have to consider.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  100. matt says:

    @Robert Prather: Yes requesting that you use the proper words is the same as screaming tyranny. You gun control nuts are just insane. All I’m asking is that you use the proper words for equipment and tools and all you can do is scream back about fetishes and tyranny. Grow up. I expect better from a co-blogger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  101. matt says:

    @Herb: You’re right the gun control nutters are clinging to all kinds of fear and paranoia. The statistics clearly show that you’re much MUCH more likely to die because of a car accident or any number of diseases yet the gun control nutters focus on the tiny number of gun related deaths instead. Fear and paranoia is all you have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  102. matt says:

    @anjin-san: You know is even more dangerous to 5 year old boys? Pools. Yes pools are one of the leading causes of death for kids under 12. Know what is the leading cause of death? Car accidents. Want to know where guns are? Not even in the top 10…

    So in your own words cars and pools are far more dangerous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  103. matt says:

    @Argon: I’ve had loved ones killed by a drunk driver. I’m guessing since a gun isn’t involved that doesn’t matter to you nuts. You don’t care that far more people are killed annually by drunk driver then by people with a gun either..

    Friend of mine shot herself in my childhood home with her older brother’s shotgun. It was a tragedy but with her it was only a matter of time before she did it. Gun or not I have no doubt she wouldn’t be with us today.

    My step brother was damned near stabbed to death when we were kids.

    Friend of mine got attacked by a machete and barely survived. He attacker was an unstable dude that was worthless.

    I girl I knew in highschool was murdered with a knife about 10 years after graduation by a dude that was always worthless.

    I can keep going but there’s no point. We already know that 40% of murders don’t involve a gun..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  104. sam says:

    @matt:

    All I’m asking is that you use the proper words for equipment and tools

    You do realize, I hope, that that’s probably the lamest argument in the gun-rights absolutist’s armamentarium, right? As if someone’s main points were delegitimized because of using the word ‘clip’ instead of ‘magazine’. That’s flat silly. It’s really a veiled argument from authority, or worse, from “special knowledge”: “See, you argument is no good because you don’t know what a magazine is as opposed to a clip.” As if someone could not argue against the personal possession of hand-grenades because he or she doesn’t know the correct name for the spoon and calls it the safety lever. Flat silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  105. Herb says:

    @matt:

    “You know is even more dangerous to 5 year old boys? Pools.”

    My advice….

    Stay away from pools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  106. JKB says:

    @you keep saying enumerated right as if it deflects all attempts at regulation.

    My mistake, I foolishly thought you would have knowledge of the right of due process before depriving someone of their rights..

    Also, that judges and Supreme Court justices are not morons who can’t see that your “insurance” requirement is simply an attempt to deprive some of their rights without due process by imposing a third party approval and hopefully high cost via a non-governmental entity.

    It will mean some people won’t be able to buy guns either because they are too much of a risk or the weapon is too dangerous. The reason they won’t be able to buy, in many cases, is because the premiums are too high for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  107. Mikey says:

    @Herb: I’m not sure gun rights advocates would really like the “argument from pools,” given that pools require things like permits, liability insurance, and locked gates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  108. Scott O says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    So I am standing, unarmed, in a gas station waiting to pay for my cup of coffee….

    You’re describing the system we have now. If you’re shot by a criminal, an idiot, a drunk or a real ‘Merican who is showing his gun to his buddy and accidently sends a bullet in your direction, good luck suing them. Maybe you’ll get some compensation.

    We could require gun liability insurers to also provide coverage for uninsured incidents and factor that into their prices. Or we could have gun manufacturers contribute to an uninsured coverage pool for each gun they produce. Or maybe someone has a better idea than these two. But you seem to be saying that because you can think up some scenario that falls through the cracks we can’t do anything. Keep thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  109. JKB says:

    @Spartacus:

    Explain how Nancy Lanza is liable for damages caused by her adult son? By damages caused using firearms in her legal possession taken from her following her murder?

    William Spengler was a convicted felon. His possession of firearms was prohibited. He would not have been eligible for “firearms insurance”. In any case, “insurance” doesn’t pay out for intentional torts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  110. Skips says:

    @JKB:

    Cost prohibitive “gun insurance”? Why not? We can bring back the poll tax while we’re at it.

    Interestingly enough, our first gun laws were in the pre-Civil War south, banning freed blacks from owning guns, and then the post-Civill War “Black Codes” that did the same. The Sullivan Act was passed in NY to keep guns out of the hands of those dangerous Italian, Polish, and Jewish immigrants.

    Ironic that this proposal would essentially do the same thing. People who live in high crime areas wouldn’t have the means to pay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  111. SKI says:

    @Doug Mataconis: No, I don’t think there is any issue with using guns for self-defense. That doesn’t change the heavy weight of responsibility that comes along with gun ownership and use.

    And of course they are inherently dangerous. Their entire purpose is to cause harm. That doesn’t make them bad tools, just dangerous ones.

    Bottom line is that guns are both useful and by dangerous. Hence, the need to require insurance if you choose to own them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  112. john personna says:

    @Robert Prather:

    That’s a good point. With everything from the tea party to gun obsession, it seems like there’s a lot of fear there. The country’s changing, the culture’s changing and so forth. A study of the psychology of this would be fascinating.

    Don’t forget, nor discount, the “conservative brain” studies

    Conservatives Big on Fear, Brain Study Finds.

    It is important to note that Mrs. Lanza bought assault rifles and high capacity magazines out of a misguided fear. Unrealistic scenarios spoke to her.

    Why to conservatives defend her choices, as their own? Misguided fear. Unrealistic scenarios.

    When someone tells you they need 30 round magazines to feel safe, you can hear Mrs. Lanza talking.

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  113. john personna says:

    @matt:

    You know is even more dangerous to 5 year old boys? Pools.

    You keep naming these things that are recognized and regulated. Many communities have fence and gate laws to address that specific risk.

    See also the “Swimming Pool Safety Act ” in California

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  114. JKB says:

    @Skips:

    And the current gun control movement was born when the blacks (Black Panthers) started lawfully carrying firearms in now heavily gun controlled California and observing police interaction with blacks.

    Funny how there is this common theme in the gun control “progressives”. And amusing how they are quick to cry racist in hopes of deflecting the light from themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  115. john personna says:

    @SKI:

    Again, we do have de-facto classes of weapons:

    “In the state of California, black powder firearms can be bought without filling out the normal firearm people work and without the 10 day wait for registering in the state. The purchase of black powder is relatively easy; black powder guns can be purchased in numerous venues for approximately $300.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  116. SKI says:

    @john personna: uh, ok. Not sure how that relates to my point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  117. Andy says:

    @Robert Prather:

    Did you read the post? Weapons are risk assessed and the people who buy them are risk assessed. Actuaries will then set premiums based on their relative risk. That’s how.

    That doesn’t explain how violence will be reduced. Let’s assume for a minute that actuaries can acurrately assess the risks of gun ownership (I have my doubts). It’s doesn’t automatically follow that gun violence will drop. For example, higher premiums on my car insurance doesn’t lessen my chances of getting in a car accident. Higher premiums on my health insurance doesn’t lessen the chance I’ll get sick. So let’s say State Farm Gun Insurance determines John Doe is more of a risk because, for example, he has kids in the house. So he pays more money for gun insurance. How does that reduce the chances that his guns will be used for violence? How does that prevent one of his kids from shooting him in the face and then going on a rampage, or anything else?

    The point is that insurance is not a risk-pevention model, it’s a risk-mitigation model. So again, how, exactly, does insurance reduce gun violence?

    Another thing, what are insurance companies going to do with premiums? I mean, people buy insurance with the expectation that they are financially covered against an uncertain loss – what is the potential loss here ? If John Doe buys gun insurance, under what circumstances can he expect to receive payment from the insurance company?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  118. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    Know what is the leading cause of death? Car accidents. Want to know where guns are? Not even in the top 10…

    Interestingly enough, however, we do not have a major political lobby dedicated to the idea that we need more and more car accidents. We don’t have millions of fetishists who, whenever there’s a discussion about how to reduce the number of car accidents, show up to whine how much car accidents mean to them emotionally and how deaths by car accidents are just the price the rest of us have to pay so they can have their little hobby.

    Also, too, the “hey, look over there!” tactic, while devastating on the playground, is much less effective in a discussion among adults. Arguing “because we cannot prevent all deaths, we should not prevent any” is not as persuasive as some might imagine it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  119. Herb says:

    @Mikey:

    “I’m not sure gun rights advocates would really like the “argument from pools,” given that pools require things like permits, liability insurance, and locked gates.”

    True. But Matt should still avoid pools. They are, apparently, extremely dangerous for his age group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  120. john personna says:

    @SKI:

    I agreed with your comments. I just wanted to reinforce that we have in our body of law, already, distinctions between kinds of guns.

    I think perversely the gun advocates want us to think “guns are guns.” And perhaps they lure some gun control arguments to treat them the same.

    It’s pretty hard to be a spree shooter with a muzzle loader, which is why current law isn’t too concerned with over the counter sale.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  121. Scott O says:

    @Andy:
    Maybe John Doe will decide he doesn’t really need a gun if he has to pay insurance on it every year. It’s a start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  122. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    Well, imagine the insurance application. It would surely include types of guns, the type of storage safe, whether the insurance covered trips to the range only, or hunting, or daily carry.

    All that would encourage people to own guns with a lower insurance cost and to store them safely.

    All that is rather back door though. It would be more direct to have a license fee based on risk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  123. Rafer Janders says:

    @Andy:

    For example, higher premiums on my car insurance doesn’t lessen my chances of getting in a car accident.

    Actually, it does lessen those chances, since it reduces the number of bad drivers on the road, bad drivers who might otherwise crash into you.

    So let’s say State Farm Gun Insurance determines John Doe is more of a risk because, for example, he has kids in the house. So he pays more money for gun insurance. How does that reduce the chances that his guns will be used for violence?

    Several ways: (a) John Doe, facing high premiums, decides to get rid of his guns altogether, (b) John Doe reduces the number of guns at home, thereby reducing the risk of any one of them being stolen, (c) John Doe realizes he can reduce his premiums if he buys a heavy-duty gun safe, so he does that, (d) John Doe decides to keep his guns, but reduce his premiums by storing the guns out of his house at a gun club, making them inaccessible to his children, etc. etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  124. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    The statistics clearly show that you’re much MUCH more likely to die because of a car accident or any number of diseases yet the gun control nutters focus on the tiny number of gun related deaths instead.

    The government, industry, and concerned citizens spend great resources every year trying to reduce the number of car accidents and deaths by disease. We have a vast regulatory framework governing cars and road safety, and we require registration, licenses, and insurance for car owners. We mandate all sorts of safety measures for the roads and for hospitals. We regulate the pharma industry which manufactures drugs which treat deadly diseases and the hospitals and medical doctors which treat them. Laws are passed on these topics all the time.

    So…what’s your point, exactly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  125. Andy says:

    @Scott O: And maybe he won’t. I don’t see how it’s a “start” if it can’t be demonstrated that it would have any effect.

    @john personna: I get that part of it and I agree it could encourage people to do things like buy a gun safe for lower premiums, though I think it would be difficult for insurance companies to verify such information.

    You’re right it’s back door also. I still don’t understand what risk the insurance will mitigate – ie. under what conditions can someone who is paying premiums expect to make a claim or receive a payout?

    It seems to me a more effective method is to require registration and then make gun owners liable for what happens to their guns. Then, gun owners could buy liability insurance to cover that risk. Absent some unmitigated legal/financial risk to gun owners, insurance doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  126. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I think some of the gun advocates have a dumb idea that we should have perfect safety in cars, alcohol, and swimming pools. THEN we can talk about guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  127. Dave Schuler says:

    In answer to the question the post is asking, definitely. A liability insurance requirement will unquestionably motivate the career criminals, scofflaws, and nutcases who are responsible for most intentional gun homicides to mend their ways. All of them are well-known for their fastidious concern with obeying the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  128. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    And the current gun control movement was born when the blacks (Black Panthers) started lawfully carrying firearms in now heavily gun controlled California and observing police interaction with blacks.

    I guess your trick there is to name something a “current” gun control movement.

    That puts ancient rules on sawed off shotguns out of the picture, as well as the National Firearms Act of 1934

    (what an ass)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  129. Rafer Janders says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    And we’re back to the “if not everyone will obey the law, we shouldn’t have the law at all” portion of the discussion. Similarly, pedophiles will still collect child pornography, so we shouldn’t bother to ban child pornography…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  130. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    We don’t normally extend liability for pedophilia to the parent who’s child was abused.

    Maybe that is a little stretched, but the tenuous thing in an insurance centered plan is that liability for long-stolen guns would extend back to the last registered owner.

    Drivers are not liable for (authentically) stolen cars.

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  131. john personna says:

    (I think that is the legal hurtle. I doubt our English-derived system of law is going to extend liability to goods no longer in possession.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  132. JKB says:

    The problem is that while the term “insurance” is being used, it doesn’t mean what many here think it means.

    insurance – promise of reimbursement in the case of loss

    But so far no one has been able to articulate the losses that should be insured against by the gun owner. Nor that claims that cause such losses are going unpaid because those suffering such losses do not have sufficient assets to cover normal levels of those claims.

    The argument is not to insure that there are sufficient resources to pay claims but rather that requiring citizens to buy insurance will impose upon them risk assessments the insurance companies use to mitigate their losses without due process, appeal or other requirements when government seeks to limit citizens’ rights.

    So without showing that loss or damages are going unpaid, you want the government to impose a requirement to purchase a contract of indemnity from loss or damage arising upon an uncertain event on citizens so that the non-governmental insurance companies can impose their corporate policies upon citizens wishing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, in hopes that some citizens will find the cost to onerous and will forego the exercise of their right?

    And you think a Supreme Court justice, even a Liberal one, won’t see your real purpose?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  133. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Put “liability” in front of “insurance” and that whole thing dissolves.

    In a case when a gun is taken directly from an owner to commit a crime, you might be able to make the liability argument that owning the gun, and keeping it insecurely, led to the bad outcome.

    Guns long gone, reported stolen, as I say, less so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  134. JKB says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Obey the law not so much

    But if we were to start holding criminals, scofflaws and nutcases responsible for damages for which they are libel… then they’ll straighten up and fly right for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  135. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    So if someone steals your car to use as a getaway car in a bank heist, you are responsible for the banks losses? Or, let’s say they don’t steal the car, but rather borrow it with your express permission then use it as a getaway car? they are liable for the banks losses?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  136. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    If I am overpowered by a bank robber, no. If I leave it running, with the door open, and a kid takes it, maybe. I could see a court ruling against me then.

    I see a dividing line, and I think that is the problem with Robert’s plan, as Dave and others identify.

    But there is not doubt that you can face liability for negligence leading to loss of possession of an automobile, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  137. Dave Schuler says:

    @JKB:

    ? We already have the highest incarceration rate of any developed country. How are we not holding them liable?

    @Rafer Janders:

    I’m not arguing that not everyone will obey the law. I’m arguing that membership in the specified class (career criminals, scofflaws, and nutcases) is defined by not obeying the law. If you think that people disinclined to obey the law will suddenly see the light, prove it. Obviously, disincentives aren’t enough because there are already substantial disincentives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  138. john personna says:

    (But if you store your gun responsibly, and notify the police of theft in a reasonable time period, no I would not see liability flying in that situation.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  139. john personna says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    ? We already have the highest incarceration rate of any developed country. How are we not holding them liable?

    That was my thought as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  140. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    But if we were to start holding criminals, scofflaws and nutcases responsible for damages for which they are libel

    Much as I enjoy watching you embarrass yourself this way, the word is “liable.” “Libel” is something else entirely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  141. JKB says:

    @Dave Schuler: But what if we required them to carry liability insurance with actuaries setting rates based on their risk assessments. That’d sort them out right quick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  142. @matt: I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to Michael. It is true, though that gun enthusiasts act like any increase in regulation is an unbearable burden on their rights and a guy on the other thread compared America to Nazi Germany if we increase gun regulations.

    Therefore, saying what I said was warranted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  143. Mikey says:

    Most other kinds of insurance take into account not just aspects of what is insured but also where it is insured. For example, auto insurance rates vary greatly depending on where the auto is garaged.

    If your proposed liability insurance for guns operates the same way, how will you avoid claims of discrimination when a law-abiding person who lives in Detroit (or another city with a high percentage of African-American population) can’t get gun liability insurance because Detroit is considered a high-danger location and therefore the rate is too high?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  144. Argon says:

    @matt:

    I’ve had loved ones killed by a drunk driver. I’m guessing since a gun isn’t involved that doesn’t matter to you nuts. You don’t care that far more people are killed annually by drunk driver then by people with a gun either..

    Hmmm, your point? I was noting that the self-defense story many tell themselves about about why gun ownership is necessary is mostly a canard. Fact is, we know very people, outside law enforcement or the military or perhaps in polar bear infested areas, for whom a gun provided a necessary defense. On the other hand, I, and others know people who were shot at or killed by guns in crazy, offensive (not defensive) actions. It’s a crappy self-defense considering the lopsided proportion by which it hurts more than it helps, at least in the hands of civilians.

    And what’s that got to do with the number of people killed on the road? I decry senseless loss there as well and like Rafer Janders notes above, nobody in their right mind is pushing for making driving less safe. The US has about a 20x higher death rate with guns than the rest of the West. We certainly don’t accept that whopping aberration in road safety.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  145. @Andy: the way it reduces gun violence is by excluding people who are too high of a risk. This happens because they can’t afford the premiums.

    Victims are compensated out of a fund built by the premiums.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  146. Andy says:

    @Robert Prather:

    It is true, though that gun enthusiasts act like any increase in regulation is an unbearable burden on their rights and a guy on the other thread compared America to Nazi Germany if we increase gun regulations.

    That is true for some gun enthusiasts. Best not to paint with a broad brush, or extrapolate too much from what some “guy on the other thread” thinks.

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  147. anjin-san says:

    @ Matt

    You know is even more dangerous to 5 year old boys? Pools.

    This is beyond tired. We are talking about guns. If you can win that argument, by all means do so, and cut out the bait and switch.

    Here, let me extend your point to its logical conclusion. “We are all going to die eventually anyway, so guns are not that bad”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  148. JKB says:

    @Mikey:

    You are missing the point. Historically, gun control has been used to disarm african-americans and other minorities. That the residents in high crime areas of Detroit, Chicago, etc., will find “liability” insurance premiums to high is the plan. That the residents disparately impacted are african-americans and other minorities, is a feature not a bug.

    @Robert Prather: Victims are compensated out of a fund built by the premiums.

    Wait, now you are taking the premiums to create fund rather than a pool from which damages are paid to cover policy holder losses due to claims?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  149. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    That the residents in high crime areas of Detroit, Chicago, etc., will find “liability” insurance premiums to high is the plan. That the residents disparately impacted are african-americans and other minorities, is a feature not a bug.

    Perhaps, but it’s not relevant to my question. What I’m interested in, is finding out how this proposal could be structured to avoid such an outcome, or even if it could. It seems to me simply instructing the underwriters to ignore a major factor like location won’t fly with the underwriters, and without them the whole thing falls over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  150. JKB says:

    @Mikey:

    Oh, the problem is more than location based. Statistically, a black person is more likely not only to be the perpetrator of a gun crime but also its victim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  151. @JKB: I was sloppy in my wording. If there is a claim against the gun owner, presumably from the victim’s family, insurance would cover that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  152. Spartacus says:

    @JKB:

    Explain how Nancy Lanza is liable for damages caused by her adult son? By damages caused using firearms in her legal possession taken from her following her murder?

    Nancy Lanza failed to adequately secure her inherently dangerous guns and that failure enabled Adam Lanza, whom she knew or should have known to be mentally unstable, to take her guns and kill 27 people. This type of claim is not at all novel.

    William Spengler was a convicted felon. His possession of firearms was prohibited. He would not have been eligible for “firearms insurance”. In any case, “insurance” doesn’t pay out for intentional torts.

    First of all, the fact that Spengler was a convicted felon who should not have possessed firearms only proves the need for gun registration and periodic checks of those gun owners to determine that they are still mentally stable and have not become convicts.

    Secondly, there are some types of intentional wrongful acts that are covered by insurance. The most obvious example is employer’s liability coverage that pays damages to employees who have been sexually harassed on the job.

    Generally, however, insurance policies do not cover intentional acts not because insurance companies are unwilling to provide this type of coverage, but because most states prohibit insurance coverage for intentional acts out of concern that such coverage would weaken the deterrent to intentionally committing wrongful acts. Obviously, if the legislature passes a law that requires insurance coverage for all damages caused by the owner’s gun, then there is a clear intent to permit insurance coverage for intentional wrongful acts involving the insured owner’s gun.

    Any other wild-eyed concerns that can be dismissed so easily?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  153. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    A simple question of “how will this work towards reducing gun violence?,” and the majority of the answers boil down to “shut up, you racist!”

    One exception: @Scott O: Maybe John Doe will decide he doesn’t really need a gun if he has to pay insurance on it every year. It’s a start.

    Major points for honesty, Scott: the goal is to reduce the number of guns in private hands. Note that it isn’t targeting the people who might be more likely to commit crimes, but those who can’t afford the new imposed costs of gun ownership.

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  154. Spartacus says:

    @matt:

    So in your own words cars and pools are far more dangerous.

    For the one gabizillionth time, the fact that the use of cars, swimming pools, crazy glue or whatever else pops into your little “brain” may result in more deaths than guns is not at all an argument against gun restrictions. At most, it’s an argument that society should look more closely at how it may need to further regulate cars, swimming pools and crazy glue to make them safer.

    Secondly, when looking to regulate anything – guns, cars, swimming pools, etc. – there has to be a balancing of interests to determine whether the safety benefits of additional regulation outweigh the burdens imposed on the use of the thing being regulated. So, if you want to continue to oppose further gun restrictions please start by explaining why it’s too harsh a burden on all these super macho gun owners to require them to register their guns, register their ammo purchases, submit to periodic checks and pay higher taxes on both their guns and bullets?

    Until then, please stop with all the childish arguments about swimming pools and cars. Seriously, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  155. JKB says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In another thread, I was accused of racism and other sins for suggesting poor students might go to a state university with spartan rather than luxurious non-academic accommodations.

    Now, on this thread, we see an elaborate plan whose purpose is to deny 2nd amendment rights to those poor people by purposely raising the cost of gun ownership without established reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  156. Mikey says:

    @Spartacus:

    Secondly, when looking to regulate anything – guns, cars, swimming pools, etc. – there has to be a balancing of interests to determine whether the safety benefits of additional regulation outweigh the burdens imposed on the use of the thing being regulated.

    This is true. However, when it comes to fundamental Constitutional rights, the balancing test is “strict scrutiny,” which is skewed dramatically in favor of the exercise of the right and against any burden a regulation might impose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  157. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You know, we could probably cut down on rapes if we required “penis insurance” and offered free castrations to those who don’t want to pay the premiums…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  158. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JKB: Let’s revise the old stereotype headline:

    “GUN INSURANCE MANDATED; MINORITIES, POOR, WOMEN DISPROPORTIONALLY AFFECTED”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  159. JKB says:

    @Spartacus:

    Sorry the burden falls upon those wishing to proscribe the rights to justify the added burden:

    to require them to register their guns, – this solves what problem?

    register their ammo purchases, – again, what problem does this solve?

    submit to periodic checks – so to exercise the 2nd Amend rights, you must
    surrender your 4th amendment rights ?

    and pay higher taxes on both their guns and bullets? – for what purpose other than to impose a
    cost up on the exercise of a right?

    It is said, William Hearst used his papers to get us into a war, should not media then be subject to periodic checks, higher taxes and registration of their presses, cameras, paper stock, disk drives?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  160. Spartacus says:

    @Mikey:

    However, when it comes to fundamental Constitutional rights, the balancing test is “strict scrutiny,” which is skewed dramatically in favor of the exercise of the right and against any burden a regulation might impose.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “fundamental Constitutional rights” but many rights granted in the Constitution are limited using tests far less stringent than strict scrutiny. Speech is the most obvious example. Speech is routinely regulated and, except for political speech, its curtailment is almost never subject to the strict scrutiny test.

    The exercise of religion is another common example. There are many general laws that infringe on the practices of various religions. Those laws usually are not subject to anything more than the rational basis test.

    More importantly, we already know that laws banning various types of weapons, or requiring the registration of guns, or the relinquishment of guns by convicts or the mentally unstable, or special fees and taxes on guns and ammo are constitutional so I don’t see what point you’re trying to make here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  161. wr says:

    @JKB: “It is said, William Hearst used his papers to get us into a war, should not media then be subject to periodic checks, higher taxes and registration of their presses, cameras, paper stock, disk drives?”

    Wow. I didn’t think the gun nut arguments could get any dumber than yipping about swimming pools, but here we go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  162. Mikey says:

    @Spartacus:

    More importantly, we already know that laws banning various types of weapons, or requiring the registration of guns, or the relinquishment of guns by convicts or the mentally unstable, or special fees and taxes on guns and ammo are constitutional so I don’t see what point you’re trying to make here.

    That equating the kinds of gun regulations you are proposing with regulations of cars and swimming pools isn’t exactly apples-to-apples.

    However, I should also say that even when strict scrutiny is applied, most laws it’s applied against are still found Constitutional. You mentioned laws that apply to religions, I recall reading something like 60% of those are upheld even after a strict scrutiny challenge. So it’s not a foregone conclusion that your ideas for gun regulation would be struck down, and I am not asserting they would.

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  163. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Spartacus: Here, I’ll make a point for you: just what restrictions are you proposing? And just how will they actually work towards achieving your stated goal?

    Remember, experience trumps theory. And we can cite tons of examples where increased gun control measures achieve at best nothing, and at worst even higher violent crime rates. The theory of “if we take away the things bad people use from everyone, then the bad people won’t be bad any more” simply doesn’t work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  164. Spartacus says:

    @JKB:

    Sorry the burden falls upon those wishing to proscribe the rights to justify the added burden:

    to require them to register their guns, – this solves what problem?

    Without knowing who owns a gun it’s impossible for us to take guns away from people who have become convicts, mentally unstable or a threat to others.

    register their ammo purchases, – again, what problem does this solve?

    So we can confirm that ammo is being purchased only for guns that have been registered.

    submit to periodic checks – so to exercise the 2nd Amend rights, you must
    surrender your 4th amendment rights ?

    The 4th protects you only against “unreasonable” searches and seizures. You, Adam Lanza and William Spengler are probably the only ones who think it’s unreasonable to search the homes of convicts and the mentally unstable for the purpose of seizing any guns they possess.

    and pay higher taxes on both their guns and bullets? – for what purpose other than to impose a
    cost up on the exercise of a right?

    You do not have a constitutional right to the tax free exercise of other constitutional rights you may have. This is why you pay taxes on books and newspapers you purchase.

    Thank you for your time, but your comments are rather tiresome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  165. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The theory of “if we take away the things bad people use from everyone, then the bad people won’t be bad any more” simply doesn’t work.

    Which is why states with strict gun control such as Canada, Japan, Australia, Israel, most of Europe, Singapore, Taiwan, Chile, most of Central Asia, China, etc. etc. are hellholes of frequent gun violenc….oh, wait. No, they’re not. Taking away the guns from the bad people stopped the bad people from using guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  166. Andy says:

    @Robert Prather:

    the way it reduces gun violence is by excluding people who are too high of a risk. This happens because they can’t afford the premiums.

    That assumes a few things not in evidence. First, would it actually exclude anyone from purchasing a gun who is not already excluded through some other law? In other words, do you really have any idea who would be excluded, if anyone? Secondly, it assumes the premiums would be high enough on the “risky” people such that they would get rid of their guns and reduce the risk. It’s quite likely that premiums would not be that high for the vast majority of people. Third, it assumes that insurance actuaries could actually identify who the “risky” people are.

    Your assertion is entirely theoretical.

    I was sloppy in my wording. If there is a claim against the gun owner, presumably from the victim’s family, insurance would cover that.

    Well, this just shows the premiums would not be very high then. First of all, most homeowner’s policies already cover things like accidental discharge of a weapon, so that is already covered by existing insurance. Secondly, it is very rare that a person can be held liable for criminal acts by a third party – so it is very difficult to find a gun owner liable if someone else criminally/negligently uses their gun. And third, liability insurance typically comes with an exclusion for intentional acts – so, for example, if a gun owner intentionally uses the gun in a criminal act, he/she is not covered by the insurance.

    With a small potential compensation pool, and a large number of insureds, it’s hard to see how premiums would be very large.

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  167. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Now, on this thread, we see an elaborate plan whose purpose is to deny 2nd amendment rights to those poor people by purposely raising the cost of gun ownership without established reason.

    No, you are inventing a bullshit history in order to make gun control a racial issue.

    What part of “1934″ didn’t you understand? Seriously.

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  168. JKB says:

    @Spartacus:

    Upon conviction or determination of mental illness through due process, the surrendering of any firearms in the person’s possession is usually a requirement. If possession of firearms is reasonably suspected but not surrendered, the court can issue a search warrant to carry out the requirement. You wish to turn this on its head by searching the homes of those not convicted or adjudicated.

    Yes, you pay taxes but you are speaking of higher taxes. Higher taxes implies a cost above that imposed on other items and therefore is punitive and designed to raise the cost. Higher taxes are designed to achieve lower consumption or activity of the taxed item. That is to impose a higher cost on exercising the right.

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  169. JKB says:

    @john personna: What part of “1934″ didn’t you understand? Seriously.

    It’s math. 1967 is more recent than 1934

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  170. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    You pulled one element out of a long list and made it the “start” of the “modern” movement in order to make it racial.

    (what an ass)

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  171. john personna says:

    Related, from Marginal Revolution:

    Under certain reasonable assumptions, the average annual marginal social cost of household gun ownership is in the range $100 to $1800.

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  172. Spartacus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    just what restrictions are you proposing? And just how will they actually work towards achieving your stated goal?

    I start with the premise that there is a lot of gun violence that is committed by people who, for much of their lives, have been law-abiding, but then in either the heat of the moment, or after long periods of stress or depression, they snap and shoot someone. There are also many people who own guns and never harm anyone else, but they’ve failed to adequately secure their guns from theft or accidents. I believe this is the type of gun violence that we can have the greatest effect on because these people do not want to become dangerous and they don’t want their guns used to hurt others.

    People who want to own guns should be trained on how to use and safely store their weapons. They should have to submit to periodic checks to ensure they still possess their safety and use skills and to ensure that they are properly storing their guns. They should be periodically counseled on avoiding/dealing with conflict and on detecting signs of stress/depression. They should not be able to buy ammo for guns they do not own and have not registered. They should be required to carry liability insurance. And, they should face mandatory jail time for violating any of the foregoing requirements. There should also be higher taxes on guns and ammo to discourage their purchases because we know that societies that have fewer guns have fewer gun deaths.

    Now, I also believe we should, through public persuasion, public pressure and, when possible new legislation, steadily move in the direction of reducing the number of guns in society, increasing the difficulty to acquire a gun and making guns less lethal. We know for a fact that these things will reduce gun violence.

    There is no single solution to solve the problem of gun violence. We will have to repeat many of the actions we’ve taken to reduce smoking, abortion, drunk driving and many of the other things we’ve made considerable progress on.

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  173. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Funny how you left Great Britain off that list. That was a country that imposed draconian gun control laws fairly recently. How’s that working out?

    Of the other countries, how many had a very liberal gun ownership policy for a couple of centuries before suddenly imposing controls?

    And Israel? You actually cited Israel? Israel, where they have universal conscription and even off-duty reservists tend to walk around armed? Where they are constantly being invaded by terrorists who slaughter whole families?

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  174. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: No, you are inventing a bullshit history in order to make gun control a racial issue.

    Read back upthread, jackhole. It was YOUR side that tried to make this a racial issue, and YOUR side that wants to make guns too expensive for all but the wealthy to own. And since minorities are disproportionately represented among the poor, that makes the economic idea ipso facto racist — see YOUR side’s arguments against voter ID requirements, for just one example.

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  175. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I think the people left of me want more gun control than I do, but leaving the childish “sides” thing apart …

    reviewing the thread no, a couple talked about whether insurance would be racist (an anti insurance argument) and said “no” before JKB jumped in with full on race baiting.

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  176. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Funny how you left Great Britain off that list.

    Great Britain is in Europe, which is why I wrote “most of Europe.”

    That was a country that imposed draconian gun control laws fairly recently. How’s that working out?

    Fairly well: “The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States’ 3.0 (over 40 times higher).”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_Kingdom#cite_note-3

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  177. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The US has 10.2 firearm related deaths per 100,000. Here are the lists for other prosperous nations, including the UK:

    Japan 0.07
    South Korea 0.13
    Hong Kong 0.19
    Singapore 0.24
    UK 0.25
    Taiwan 0.42
    Spain 0.63
    India 0.93
    Ireland 1.03
    Australia 1.05
    Germany 1.10
    Greece 1.50
    Italy 1.28
    Norway 1.78
    Israel 1.86
    New Zealand 2.66
    Austria 2.94
    France 3.00
    Switzerland 3.50
    Finland 3.64
    Canada 4.78

    What kind of crazy wingnut mind do you need to think that 0.25 stands out as a failure?

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  178. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And Israel? You actually cited Israel? Israel, where they have universal conscription and even off-duty reservists tend to walk around armed? Where they are constantly being invaded by terrorists who slaughter whole families?

    Yes, Israel, which has strict gun control policies.Here, for example, excerpts from an interview by Ezra Klein of Janet Rosenbaum, author of the paper “Gun Utopia? Firearms Ownership in Israel and Switzerland.”

    Ezra Klein: Israel and Switzerland are often mentioned as countries that prove that high rates of gun ownership don’t necessarily lead to high rates of gun crime. In fact, I wrote that on Friday. But you say your research shows that’s not true.

    Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased.

    For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence.

    Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid.

    The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t. Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer…..

    EK: I was surprised by one statistic in your article: You said that Israel rejects 40 percent of its applications for a gun, the highest rate of rejection of any country in the world. And even when you get approved, you say that “all guns must have an Interior Ministry permit and identifying mark for tracing.” That seems like it might make people think twice before they shoot from a gun they know the government can track.

    JR: That’s a requirement. I don’t know a great deal about the ballistics issue there. But that is in the regulations.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/mythbusting-israel-and-switzerland-are-not-gun-toting-utopias/

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  179. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Let’s look at some context for that UK number, shall we?

    After England essentially banned guns, gun crime went up 89%.

    Besides, we’re talking about England — a place where they drink their beer warm. That alone should disqualify them from being compared with the US.

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  180. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Another instance of lying with numbers. After the initial gun ban, gun crimes did go up, however, they quickly peaked and have been falling ever since.

    According to bare statistics, the ban initially appeared to have little impact, as the number of crimes involving guns in England and Wales rose heavily during the late 1990s to peak at 24,094 offenses in 2003/04. Since then the number has fallen in each year. In 2010/11 there were 11,227 offenses, 53% below the peak number, according to the official crime figures. Crimes involving handguns also fell 44% — from 5,549 in 2002/03 to 3,105 — in 2010/11.

    Criminologist Peter Squires said the real picture shows a slight but significant decline in the use of firearms since Dunblane. The figures don’t tell the whole story, he said, but “the murder rate has fallen and all the indicators are moving in the right direction.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/world/europe/dunblane-lessons/index.html

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  181. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: So, basically, you’re fine with the crime rate skyrocketing, as long as eventually it stops climbing and starts dropping? Mighty cavalier about all those people who get killed in the meantime. Oh, well, omelets and all that…

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  182. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Israel, where they have universal conscription and even off-duty reservists tend to walk around armed?

    One other point: since 2006, it’s been IDF policy to have off-duty soldiers leave their guns on base rather than take them home. So the sight of off-duty reservists walking around with their assault rifles is increasingly a thing of the past.

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  183. Rafer Janders says:

    So, basically, you’re fine with the crime rate skyrocketing, as long as eventually it stops climbing and starts dropping?

    No, ideally I’d like it to start dropping right away. But either way, it’s preferable to what we have, which is the murder rate never dropping and consistently remaining 40 times higher. What a silly question.

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  184. Mikey says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    it’s preferable to what we have, which is the murder rate never dropping

    The murder rate is half what it was in 1991. 4.8 per 100K vs. 9.8 per 100K.

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  185. Rafer Janders says:

    It’s been a long thread, and there have been many, many stupid things written in it.

    But I think the stupidest thing has to remain Mataconis’ claim that guns are not inherently dangerous. A day later and I’m still marvelling at the idiocy.

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  186. OldSouth says:

    My concern is that the requirement of ‘insurance’ would inevitable open the door for all manner governmental regulation of the insurers and products, i.e. a back-door means for government to intervene into private lives.

    The way has been paved for all manner of interventions, via ‘non-taxes’ that really are taxes, etc. A government that requires this sort of ‘insurance’ could tax it heavily, penalize all who fail to purchase it, require inventories of private holdings of guns, ammo, parts, reloading supplies, etc., and of course use those regulatory means to pursue any and all who were not in perfect compliance. It could even require the states to operate their own ‘exchanges’ to provide mandatory coverage to all.

    Add a few big jury awards in a few cases, such as were won by that paragon of civic virtue John Edwards, stir lightly, and watch the chaos ensue.

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  187. grumpy realist says:

    @matt: And if you own a pool and a kid trespasses on your land, falls in and dies, you are responsible.

    Why aren’t gun owners more responsible for the damage that their guns do?

    Actually, anyone waving a gun around in public in front of other people who don’t know him should be immediately charged with assault. You don’t wave a gun around in public unless you are trying to intimidate other people.

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  188. Tom Harvey says:

    Thank you for writing about guns and insurance. There is a need for discussion at a much detailed level than arguments pro and con. The structure of the insurance system and the path to implementation are very important. I am looking for ideas on the subject and blogging at a new blog ‘guninsuranceblog.com’ Please take a look and let me know if you have ideas I can share. email to tom@guninsuranceblog.com

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  189. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: But I think the stupidest thing has to remain Mataconis’ claim that guns are not inherently dangerous. A day later and I’m still marvelling at the idiocy.

    Let me plagiarize myself from a more recent thread:

    Oh, horse hockey. If guns were inherently dangerous, there’d be a hell of a lot more shootings at places where you find lots and lots of guns. When was the last time there was a mass shooting at a gun show, a firing range, a police station? There’s been exactly one on a military base, and it was where the vast majority of the soldiers present were unarmed. It took civilian cops to protect our soldiers.

    Let me add that it’s extremely rare for a gun to hurt someone all by its lonesome. There’s almost always a human being who, through carelessness or design, causes the injury. A gun all by itself is almost totally harmless.

    (Yes, there have been cases of dropped guns, of guns misfiring, and memorable cases of animals inadvertently firing guns, but those are so rare as to be trivial.)

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  190. matt says:

    @john personna: Where’s the normalization here?

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  191. matt says:

    @grumpy realist: See I don’t think the property owner should be held responsible for damages when someone has illegally entered their property. You trespass into someone’s yard and drown in their pool or break your leg it’s your own damned fault.

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  192. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @matt: Actually, in England, there have been cases where injured intruders did sue — and win — for just such circumstances. And since so many seem to want to emulate the UK in other areas (health care, gun laws, etc.), it’s not inconceivable that this, too, could come to pass.

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  193. Two other informed opinions to consider:

    One

    Two

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  194. mannning says:

    While I am buying this firearm insurance, I should also buy insurance for hammers, as the FBI states that hammer deaths far outweigh rifle deaths (and hammer owners exceed the number of gun owners). Then too, I should buy insurance against being beaten to death since the FBI says that tops gun deaths too (and fists far outnumber both hammers and guns). I wonder what other artifacts there are that I need insurance for? It must be a very long list.

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  195. KDog says:

    Okay forcing responsible gun owners that never commit crimes to carry liability insurance is like sending all the good kids into a timeout because of one bad kid that does something wrong. That would be like forcing parents of mentally ill to carry additional liability insurance too, after all it’s their fault for giving birth to a mentally ill person that commits mass murder. Where is the logic?

    This is simp[ly a knee jerk reaction by liberals that want to remove all guns from society. A gun in the hands of a responsible adult is the great equalizer otherwise the strongest, meanest and thuggish (bullies) will have their way. The Rwandan Genocide was performed with a machete, but imagine if those villagers could have defended themselves if they were armed to defend against the machete?

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  196. KDog says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    What he was referring to is that the gun itself doesn’t kill anything….it requires action by a person, but I suspect you didn’t see it that way.

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