New York Pushes For Law Requiring Gun Owners To Purchase Liability Insurance

By Roger J. Katz, Attorney at Law and Stephen L. D'Andrilli

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New York Pushes For Law Requiring Gun Owners To Purchase Liability Insurance
Arbalest Quarrel
Arbalest Quarrel

New York, NY  -(  On January 17, 2017, Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Felix W. Ortiz, a Democrat, introduced a bill in the New York State Assembly aimed directly at gun owners.

The bill, A2260, if enacted, would require all firearm owners to purchase liability insurance for their firearms. The bill would amend the Insurance Law of the State. A2260 would require gun owners to obtain and to maintain liability insurance in an amount not less than $250,000.00 to cover damages resulting from the negligent use of that firearm.

Failure to hold such insurance would result “in the immediate revocation of such owner’s registration, license and any other privilege to own such firearm.” The bill exempts peace officers.

This bill is nothing new, really. It is simply a repackaged version of earlier bill that State Senator Ortiz introduced to the New York State Assembly in 2013: AB 3908. The earlier bill was even more ambitious. Had the New York State Legislature enacted the earlier bill, the owner of a firearm would be required to obtain and maintain liability insurance in the amount of one million dollars. Moreover, the insurance would have had to cover damages for both negligent and willful acts involving use of a firearm owned by the policy holder.

You will note that nothing in either bill addresses the party who might be responsible for causing negligent or intentional harm.

The 2013 bill went nowhere. Ortiz made changes, reflected in the newer version of the bill, to exclude liability for intentional acts—a matter obviously of great concern to insurers.

As of this date, to the best of our knowledge and belief, no State has successfully enacted legislation mandating that gun owners purchase and maintain liability insurance on the firearms they own.

There is a good reason for this. Insurance companies don’t want to be embroiled in gun liability. It is an expensive proposition for them. If so, insurance companies won’t wish to provide such insurance. That raises another problem. Suppose a State, such as New York, does enact such legislation, requiring all gun owners to obtain and to maintain liability insurance. There is nothing in the bill—A2260 or AB3908—that requires insurance companies to provide such coverage. And, if insurance companies refuse, en masse, to provide such coverage, where does that leave gun owners? Not in a good place, for sure. For this would mean that law-abiding gun owners could not lawfully retain the guns they presently own. And, if they are required to show a gun dealer that they have gun liability insurance coverage as a condition to purchasing a new firearm, New York gun owners would not be able to purchase an additional firearm as they would not be able to obtain gun liability insurance.

They would not be able to do so because insurance companies wouldn’t provide gun owners with gun liability coverage.

Liability insurance is simply another gimmick, conceived by antigun groups, to make gun acquisition a difficult and expensive, if not altogether impossible, process for the average, law-abiding, rational American citizen. Antigun groups won’t say this, of course. They analogize gun liability insurance to auto insurance. They argue that the purpose is to promote safe handling of firearms and to compensate injured parties. But insurance companies that offer casualty insurance are not likely to wish to get into the business of insuring against negligent, much less intentional, harm resulting from misuse of firearms.

But, suppose States, through legislation, required insurance companies to offer gun liability coverage if insurance companies wished to continue to do business in the State. Some insurers may very well simply leave the State. But, those companies that remained would find themselves in the gun business and in the gun business in a way they certainly wouldn’t want to be. To reduce risk to their “bottom line,” companies would likely institute rigorous, draconian screening procedures for prospective policy holders.

Screening procedures could include requirements that policy holders undergo extensive mental and physical examinations. Insurers may mandate that policy holders undertake firearm safety training on a regular basis. One academician writes:

encouraging or mandating liability insurance to cover more firearms-related injuries would shift some of the costs associated with this harm to property casualty insurers, thereby creating greater financial incentives for them to utilize their expertise in classifying and spreading risk, promoting gun safety, and engaging in other risk mitigation strategies. Within the insurance world, health, life, and disability insurers currently bear the financial costs of firearm violence, at least to the extent that victims have such insurance coverage.” Liability Insurance and Gun Violence, 46 Conn. Law Review 1265, 1271 (May 2014), by Peter Kochenburger, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Executive Director, Insurance Law Center, University of Connecticut School of Law.

Another Academician, writing in the same periodical, points out that, “Proponents of compulsory liability insurance for gun owners hope that insurance would provide a source of monetary compensation for shooting victims and their families, while serving as a source of private regulation that would determine who may have a firearm, create incentives for insurers to require firearm owners to take care that their weapons are not involved in gun crime, and place the costs created by guns onto their owners.” Insuring Against Guns? 46 Conn. Law Review 1209, 1211 (May 2014), George A. Mocsary, Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois School of Law.

Mandating firearm liability insurance is clearly problematic. The same writer says, “Opponents, including insurers, have argued that, instead of achieving its stated goals, compulsory insurance would likely compensate only a few shooting victims, would not impact gun possession by those who misuse firearms, would create incentives for gun owners to be less careful with their weapons, and would be problematic to implement. Some also raise concerns that forcing firearm owners to insure themselves and their weapons may suffer from constitutional infirmities. Id. At 1212.

Lost in the discussion of guns and insurance is the fact that gun owners do often obtain insurance for the firearms they own. But, they do so to protect their guns for risk of loss.

“Although homeowners’ insurers ask about gun ownership in the course of their underwriting, they do not ask that question for purposes of liability underwriting. Rather, they ask to evaluate whether the applicant needs a special rider to cover the theft or damage of a valuable gun. Insurers selling commercial insurance policies to gun retailers do consider loss prevention during their underwriting, but they are more concerned with safeguarding guns and weapons from theft or other property damage than with reducing liability risks.” “Twenty-first century litigation: pathologies and possibilites: a symposium in honor of Stephen Yeazell: regulation by liability insurance: from auto to lawyers professional liability, 60 UCLA Law Review 1412, 1432.

Antigun groups—fast to enact draconian new antigun laws—remain unconcerned about pragmatic considerations, or even ethical ones; and they are altogether oblivious to Constitutional constraints. Their single-minded obsession with guns is directed to making it exceedingly onerous for the average person to own and possess them.

 Felix W. Ortiz
NY Democrat, Felix W. Ortiz, would require all firearm owners to purchase liability insurance for their firearms.

Restrictive gun bills that are drafted and restrictive gun laws that are ultimately enacted are done so with a feverish intensity with little if any regard to the negative impact such legislation has on the rights and liberties of individuals living in a free Republic; and with little or no regard to the administrative burdens such legislation places on public agencies, taxed with carrying out the legislation; and with little or no regard to the negative impact such legislation has on business and, therefore, on the economic well-being of our Nation.

New York’s latest ridiculous antigun legislation—A2260—mandating that all gun owners in New York purchase and maintain liability insurance for their firearms will, as with the previous bill, go nowhere. Nor should it go anywhere. NYS Assemblyman Ortiz has drafted his bill with no comprehension of how the casualty insurance industry operates. He has no conception of the import of our Nation’s Bill of Rights. And, he obviously has little if any regard for the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Someone might suggest to Ortiz that he take a refresher course on the meaning and purpose of our Constitution. Were he to take a course in freshman economics and bone up a bit on casualty insurance basics, that wouldn’t hurt either.


Copyright © 2017 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.

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  • 26 thoughts on “New York Pushes For Law Requiring Gun Owners To Purchase Liability Insurance

    1. Driving a car is a privilege. I will buy insurance to cover any collisions including uninsured drivers. Been there, done that and already collected twice. Exercising my 2nd Amendment is an inaienable immutable God given Right. I will NEVER buy insurance just for the “privilege” of owning a firearm. Besides, when I buy my Law Shield policy, my attorneys fees, bail bonding are all covered by a single payment for the whole year.
      So, Mitch for $9.00 a month, I’ll buy another couple of boxes of 22s and feed my cans on both of the Rugers.

      1. Au contraire the right to conduct yourself as you please is your right. Cars are more important than guns and by extension not a privilege.

    2. I know your not gonna like to here this but I think all gun owners should have insurance not required but should have it.

    3. the bit about insurance companies declining to provide such coverage is the most lucid response to this.

      FASCISM defined: government control of private means of production.

      So the State of New York proposes to become so fascist they think they will be able to control the insurance companies (private means of production) to the point the STATE will command the PRIVATE MEANS to provide a product it do not wish to provide?

      Am I dreaming or do I forsee insurance companies effecting a massive exodus from that State?

    4. Like I said before I get liability Ins but let me carry in the city and give me a suppressor and we have a deal I’ll take one law to remove two

    5. If you’re employed in law enforcement, the criminal justice system or the insurance business you gotta “Love NY”! Keep suckin up to the system that erodes our Freedom!

    6. Why are law enforcement officers exempt? How many reports of NDs by cops have we seen over the years? Or is there the expectation that their damages will be covered by the taxpayers?

    7. Just another gun grabbing ahole. Guess he will get re elected again as NY doesn’t have the brightest voters. The folks in various offices reflects the mentality of the residents. When you have a bunch of lefties that care more about illegals then Americans there is something wrong with the voters.

    8. So says DIS-honorable ‘t.ortiz’ who is just another DemocRATic communist Party member. This is another attempt to harass the LEGAL LAW ABIDING Americans who deem it necessary to be armed so as to HUNT and if necessary, to PROTECT their Selves, their Families, their Communities, their States and the government from TERRORISTS – – Both Domestic and Foreign. Americans have the RIGHT to protect Americans from a tyrannical government such as the DemocRATic communist Party is trying to PUSH on Americans at this time in history(March 9, 2017).

    9. Well, another coffee cup in hand this morning and here it is again like a bad cold that won’t go away. Dear Gil has slithered out from under its bridge or rock to visit us again. Another snide comment “thereby freeing to people to fight and duel as they like” means then literally a challenge to a duel dear gil so u get to choose the firearms.
      I’ll bet this is ms. shannun wutts or someone of her minute caliber starting at the bottom and working its way on down. Premeditated “progressive” traitor. So, if you need a firearm for our duel, there were 2.5 million or so added in just the 1st 2 months of 2017 according to NICS. Going to be a LONG 8 years. So, gil JUST get used to it. Many more millions to go. And I have all the guns i could possibly carry to a duel just for you. And u can have ur choice for a loaner if u need. Common coward…….
      And now crawl back under ur bridge or rock-which ever comes 1st. Coffees done. See ya in the morning……….

    10. As an instructor and coach, I’ve had negligence and liability insurance policies of $1,000,000 on myself and the other coaches in my group. Lloyd’s of London happily writes these policies. IIRC, it cost around $800 a year to cover five of us as long as we stayed within the coaching group’s written policies.

      The real problem with Ortiz’s legislation is that he quite deliberately confuses crime with safety. Insurance has never and will never cover the criminal in criminal acts. Somewhere in his rhetoric, I’m sure he’s asked that since we require drivers to have insurance on themselves and their cars, why not gun owners? Car deaths and injuries are “accidents”. Oops! I didn’t mean to do that. Gun deaths are, in the vast majority, deliberate acts; suicides and murders. Gun accidents are a much lower number and would be covered by an “Ortiz policy”. Not to mention that driving is a state granted privilege vs. gun ownership is a Constitutionally guaranteed right. That sort of detail seems to elude him. Or rather, he deliberately eludes the concept.


    11. New York always tries to add some new tax or bill that does absolutely nothing for the state, they wounder why people are leaving the state, people are tired of the BS. Not to mention that they try in every way to interfere with our constitutional rights every chance that they get. The people who voted in the 51st district should really reconconcider waif the idiot they put in office should be there at all.

    12. Like gun registration laws, the Supreme Court has ruled they cannot be applied to criminals since it would violate the self-incrimination prohabition of the Bill of Rights. Criminals cannot be required to obtain insurance for the same reason.
      But these anti-gun legislators don’t care about the Constitution anyway, they intend to impede lawful possession.
      The New York Sullivan Law was written by Tim Sullivan, a leader of the Irish Five Points Gang. He wrote it so he could approve permits to his gang and deny rivals and citizens in general.
      It is just a case of ignorant people seeking public safety and not actually looking past the title of the law.

    13. The gunfighter morality is simple victims deals with the aftermath thereby freeing to people to fight and duel as they like.

    14. simple to fix if half the country gets off the insanity protesting of — well they not even know what protest is really about this week

      all insane laws designed to screw people out of real civil rights must be ignored

      real civil rights as in actually listed in constitution not the made up crap just because hillary lost

      ok government you find prison cells for 300 million people and still get all that tax money coming in

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