On January 25, 2022 San Jose fired a shot heard ‘round the country. By an overwhelming majority, the city council in this wealthy California community mandated that homeowners and renters who own firearms must have gun liability insurance. It was the first in the nation to do so, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gun liability insurance provides coverage for damages resulting from negligence with a firearm, but it does not cover acts of lawful self-defense.
Gun owners opposed the ordinance. The National Rifle Association (NRA) claims the new law is a violation of the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” The ordinance faces a court challenge.
True to form, on February 02, 2023 the New York State Assembly introduced A03314 which requires liability insurance for owners of firearms, rifles, and shotguns. Five democrats from New York City and district 125 (Ithaca, Dryden, and Cortland) are sponsoring the bill. A03314 was sent to the Assembly insurance committee where it currently sits. There is no corresponding liability insurance bill currently in the New York State Senate. (It is interesting that there is no active SCOPE chapter in either NY City, Tompkins, or Cortland counties where the sponsors are from.)
A03314 requires that gunowners must have liability insurance before ownership or before an issuance of a gun license. The amount of insurance is not specified in the bill, but the bill does specify that the amount of insurance shall be determined by the Superintendent of Financial Service specifically covering any damages resulting from any negligent acts involving the use of firearms, rifles, or shotguns while owned by the owner. Failure to own liability insurance results in a fine from $150 to $1,500, and immediate revocation of the owner’s registration, license, and any other privilege to own or possess a firearm, rifle, or shotgun. Gun owners are still responsible for liability insurance if the firearm, rifle, or shotgun is lost or stolen until the gun owner reports the loss to the police or Sheriff. Any gun owner has 180 days to acquire liability insurance from the effective date of the bill becoming law.
SCOPE opposes A03314 because:
- the requirement increases the cost of firearm ownership in order to backdoor a constitutionally protected right;
- requiring gun liability insurance economically discriminates against gun owners;
- you don’t have to carry insurance to exercise a constitutional right (next will be having ‘speech insurance‘ in case you offend someone);
- most firearm crimes are committed with illegal weapons so it won’t have any impact on crime;
- liability insurance will have no effect on preventing suicides, as well.
The Assembly insurance committee has 23 members, the majority to them are Democrats. The insurance committee is chaired by Assemblyman David Weprin, who also happens to be one of the sponsors of A03314.
A03314 is one of the top ten potential 2024 firearms that could be voted on in 2024. All SCOPE members must educate themselves and others on A03314 and call on their Assembly members to OPPOSE A03314.
The time to get involved is NOW! We must fight for our right to keep and bear arms. If we don’t, our sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters will not have the same rights as we do today.