Letters to the Editor: The problems with a gun-owner insurance mandate

A police officer walks past chairs and a bicycle left along a parade route after the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill.
A police officer walks past chairs and a bicycle left along a parade route after the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., on July 4.
(Joe Lewnard / Associated Press)

To the editor: Does anyone really think the tiny percentage of gun owners who use firearms in criminal ways are going to buy liability insurance? (“Can gun insurance mandates stem America’s torrent of firearm violence?” column, July 7)

The only group that will benefit from that misguided idea is insurance companies, which I’m sure think it’s a great idea to require gun owners to carry liability insurance. They’ll tap the tens of millions of legal gun owners who would never conceive of using guns for anything illegal, and the sociopaths who commit violence will never ever buy insurance.

Robert Rex, Calabasas



To the editor: There would be tremendous benefits to requiring liability insurance for gun owners.

Liability insurance provides financial benefit for victims of gun violence. It can motivate current gun owners to practice safer gun storage measures and take a firearms safety course.

Nothing is going to meaningfully regulate guns until the insurance industry decides to get involved. The insurance industry will evaluate the financial benefit from modifying gun ownership with emotionless actuarial tables.

It won’t be about life and death, physical disfigurement or emotional tragedy. It will be about how much money can be made with the associated financial risk. Insurance mandates will provide the politically acceptable rescue needed by legislators.

It’s the American way, because it is all about the money.

Bill Brock, Agoura Hills


To the editor: Requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance explicitly covering damage or injury from the negligent or accidental discharge of a firearm will not meet the goal of providing that “gun owners, rather than victims of shootings or the public, bear the costs of gun violence.”

Why? Because gun violence is, by definition, the deliberate — and not the negligent or accidental — discharge of a firearm, and therefore would not be covered by such insurance.

Pamela Hobbs, Los Angeles


To the editor: I’m tired of all the hand-wringing every time a shooter kills people. Nothing can help except, perhaps, some radical reshaping of our society.

For more than a century now we have worshiped our military exploits. We worship death and conquest, as long is it isn’t we who are doing the dying.

How can we reshape our culture to value human life? It will have to start in the Oval Office, but alas, having a deep respect for human life will not get anybody elected.

We can try to teach this value early in school. But doing so would require some very competent legal work.

Another place we can start is with the death penalty. In order to say “we value life,” we have to show a certain mercy to even those who are the lowest among us. But the sirens for revenge still scream louder and louder.

Nothing will prevent the next shooter. Chances are they already have the gun and ammunition. We can only do what we need to do and hope for better results in our next generation.

Patrick Sullivan, Reseda