By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – A California state senator introduced legislation that would require gun owners to obtain liability insurance for the “negligent or accidental use” of their firearms, according to a press release from her office.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, introduced SB 505 in hopes that California would become the first state in the country with this kind of law in place.
“Guns kill more people than cars. Yet gun owners are not required to carry liability insurance like car owners must,” Sen. Skinner said in a press release Thursday. “Why should taxpayers, survivors, families, employers, and communities bear the $280 billion annual cost of gun violence? It’s time for gun owners to shoulder their fair share.”
Sen. Skinner’s office describes the gun insurance required by SB 505 as “similar to car insurance.” Her office says that under the bill, gun owners would:
- Be held civilly liable for property damage, injury or death resulting from the use of their firearms
- Have to obtain liability insurance that covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm, including property, damage, injury or death
- Have to obtain proof of gun insurance, keep that proof with their firearm and produce it when asked by a peace officer during the course of a lawful detainment.
Ms. Skinner’s office said she filed the bill in response to recent shootings in Uvalde, Tex., Buffalo, NY, and Tulsa, Ok.
Although the law would be first in the nation at the state level, if passed, it’s not a new idea.
San Jose became the first city in California to pass a law requiring gun owners to obtain liability insurance earlier this year. The ordinance was promptly challenged by a city resident and the National Association for Gun Rights.
Additionally, Sen. Skinner’s office says that Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, proposed a similar bill in 2013, but it didn’t have the support to become law.