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Gun Safety

April 12, 2013

On the morning of December 14th I saw a news item about a shooter in a school being dead. The shooter is dead. Nothing was said about anyone else. I didn’t think about it for the rest of the day. Later, I was driving and I heard the number: 20 children. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe.

Now our brilliant political system is trying to respond to the massacre. And it can’t. A bunch of heartless Republicans are trying to protect “gun rights” in a country where the second amendment is so strong that the fact that machine guns are banned is considered a major victory for gun safety advocates; meanwhile, the idea that we shouldn’t sell guns to criminals and terrorists is considered controversial.

Hard-core Dems are no better than R-people. Democrats seem to think the government should control everything. The idea of personal responsibility is anathema to them — the free market nothing more than a necessary evil.

The only sensible response to the shooting (and to all the other shootings that happen every day) involves personal responsibility and the free market, so Dems would be against it. Not that modern R-people would go for it either — a government regulation, even one that brings the free market to bear on one of the country’s most pressing problems, might hurt one of their precious tiny constituencies.

No one in government is going to champion the obvious response.

Insurance is the answer. I have insurance. The state says I have to carry a certain minimum liability insurance because I own a device that can be deadly — my car. I have carried liability insurance on every car I have owned for 30 years. Note to R-people: we know all about it, requiring insurance would hurt the gun industry, destroy profits, cost jobs, deny people their personal freedom, any government regulation immediately leads to the end of the world . . . blah, blah, blah — do us a favor boys and give it a rest.

We don’t need to ban some types of semi-automatic rifle because they look scarier than other semi-automatic rifles. This is just the kind of government intervention Dems love, but it would do little good. We don’t even need to ban high-capacity magazines. We just need one thing: All gun owners and prospective buyers must carry liability insurance to the tune of 10 million dollars per person murdered with your weapon. Simple, straightforward, effective.

I’m not the only person suggesting this, but I might as well be.

The free market (note to Dems: we are NOT talking about the Devil) would create a huge increase in safety. Do you think an insurance company is going to hand out policies on AR-15’s like candy? Not at 10 million bucks a pop (literally). “Excuse me ma’am, but who lives in your house with you? He’ll need a psych eval, I’m afraid ma’am. Oh, and ma’am, you’ll also need to show us the trigger lock you’re using and your storage and safety plan. And I’m afraid for that particular weapon you’ll need to take a class every other year.”

Liability insurance would do a million times more than all the well-intentioned banning in the world simply because the insurance companies would hire an army of gun safety experts out of pure self-interest: their goal would be to keep payouts to a minimum and profits high.

The free market can be amazingly efficient — as R-people are fond of reminding us — and would no doubt work well in this case. Sandy Hook would have cost a quarter of a billion dollars. Yes, even with insurance it could (and probably would) happen again, but every time it did, the chances of a repeat occurrence would drop dramatically as insurance companies improved their business plans. I know it seems crass to all of those kind-hearted liberal types out there, but money talks. It can and does save lives every day.

As it stands, the most stringent gun laws being proposed will do practically nothing even if they are enacted over the dead bodies of the Republican obstructionists.

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