Illinois State Representative Kenneth Dunkin (D-5th District) has proposed an anti gun law (Illinois HB0687) that would force gun owners to carry $1,000,000.00 of insurance, make the gun owner liable for misuses of their gun until the gun is reported stolen to the police, and provide for the revocation of FOID cards (and therefore gun rights) for those who don’t carry such insurance:
Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Provides that any person who owns a firearm in this State shall maintain a policy of liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000 specifically covering any damages resulting from negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person. Provides that a person shall be deemed the owner of a firearm after the firearm is lost or stolen until such loss or theft is reported to the police department or sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the owner resides. Provides that the Department of State Police shall revoke and seize a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card previously issued under this Act if the Department finds that the person to whom such card was issued possesses or acquires a firearm and does not submit evidence to the Department of State Police that he or she has been issued in his or her name a liability insurance policy in the amount of at least $1,000,000 specifically covering any damages resulting from negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person.
It is unreasonable to impose such an insurance requirement on law abiding gun owners. The overwhelming majority of lawfully owned guns are never misused, and the criminals who illegally own guns certainly aren’t going to register their guns (or pay for $1 million of insurance). This proposed law is little more than a thinly veiled attempt to make lawful gun ownership too expensive for average citizens, which is nothing new in Illinois.
I’ve heard the counter argument that we require car insurance, so therefore gun insurance is reasonable too. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cars are much, much more likely to cause harm than guns. That is due in large part to the fact that the ordinary use of a car means operating it at high speeds near fixed objects, other cars, and pedestrians, where a slight error in judgment or momentary lapse in concentration can result in a serious collision. Finally, cars are used on roads owned by the state, and so the state is free to require that people who wish to avail themselves of the state’s road carry insurance. Guns, on the other hand, are incredibly safe so long as the user obeys a few simple safety rules. While most car drivers will have at least one collision in their lives (and usually more), the overwhelming majority of gun owners never misuse their guns. Illinois also bans concealed carry, meaning that by definition citizens are forbidden to carry their guns on the state’s roads/sidewalks/etc., so the “state’s roads” justification for insurance fails as well.
Similarly, the provision that would make gun owners liable for the misuse of their gun by a criminal is anything but reasonable. We don’t hold a car owner liable when their car is stolen by a criminal and misused in a way that causes injury/damage. We don’t hold a knife owner liable when their knife is stolen and misused. Nor do we hold owners of acid, nail guns, dinner ingredients, or anything else that criminals can misuse liable for the actions of such thieving criminals. Such a rule would also be extremely unfair for someone whose gun safe is broken into while they are at work (or on vacation), as such a person would not even know their gun had been stolen, yet would be liable. Singling out guns for special liability rules will only deter law abiding people from having a gun for self defense, while criminals will continue to be unaffected.
I would strongly encourage all Illinois residents to contact their elected officials and voice their opposition to this latest attempt to infringe our gun rights.
My thanks to Pedro for pointing out this proposed law.