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'Similar To Cars': California State Senators Introduce Gun Owner Insurance Legislation

'Firearms Are Similar To Cars In That They Are Inherently Dangerous And Are In Wide Circulation' Said State Senator Catherine Blakespear

State Senators in California introduced legislation that would mandate gun owners to obtain liability insurance for “negligent or accidental” use.

The legislation proposed by Senators Catherine Blakespear and Nancy Skinner will reportedly be modeled after the City of San José’s gun insurance law which went into effect Jan. 1, according to a news release from Skinner.

State Senator Anthony Portantino will also co-author the bill.

“Proud to announce that [Senator Blakespear] and I are introducing new legislation, [SB8], that would require CA gun owners to obtain insurance for the negligent or accidental use of firearms,” Skinner announced Thursday.

“If enacted, the bill would make [California] the first state to adopt such law.”

The proposed legislation follows a string of mass shootings within the state. New York state legislators introduced similar legislation in 2021.

“This bill is a commonsense approach to improve community safety. Under current laws, gun violence victims and society at large are the ones who suffer the cost of gun violence. This needs to change. Firearms are similar to cars in that they are inherently dangerous and are in wide circulation. If a car accidentally causes injury to a person or property, the insurance policy will compensate the victim. The same approach should apply to injuries caused by guns,” said Senator Blakespear.

“Victims of gun violence and their families suffer severe harm — economic, mental and physical — but have little to no recourse to be compensated for that harm. Insurance is the method our society uses to compensate those harmed by, for example, car accidents, medical malpractice, or faulty consumer products. Requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance puts the burden where it should be — on the gun owner,” said Senator Skinner.

“Gun violence costs our country over $280 billion a year. SB 8 will ensure that gun owners — not victims and their families — shoulder their fair share of that burden,” Skinner added.

According to the proposed legislation, firearm owners must obtain a homeowner’s, renter’s, or gun liability policy which covers losses or damages resulting from accidental use of the firearm including but not limited to death, injury, or property damage. Gun owners will also be required to obtain proof of insurance to be kept with the firearm and readily available when requested by law enforcement.

San José’s Gun Harm Reduction Ordinance requires firearm owners within San José to obtain and maintain liability insurance and pay an annual gun harm reduction fee.

“While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, it does not require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership. We won’t magically end gun violence, but we will stop paying for it. We can also better care for its victims, and reduce gun-related injuries and death through sensible interventions.” said San José City Mayor Sam Liccardo of the Ordinance.

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