Colorado House passes gun insurance bill

State house passes bill for "responsible gun ownership"

Colorado House passes gun insurance bill

Insurance News


On Saturday, April 20, the Colorado House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at what it says is encouraging responsible gun ownership through mandatory liability insurance. The bill, HB24-1270, sponsored by Representatives Steven Woodrow (D-Denver) and Iman Jodeh (D-Aurora), passed narrowly with a vote of 33-29 requiring last-minute support by Democratic Reps. Alex Valdez of Denver and Tisha Mauro of Pueblo.

Under the new legislation, which is slated to start on January 1, 2025, all gun owners in Colorado will be required to hold liability insurance that covers losses or damages resulting from the accidental or unintentional discharge of a firearm. The proponents say that requirement can be met under existing homeowners’, condo, or renters’ insurance policies that many gun owners already possess. Anyone who can’t get insurance, or who is indigent and can’t afford it, may be able to avoid the requirement.

In a statement, Rep. Woodrow highlighted the financial burden that gun violence often places on taxpayers. “The costs of gun violence are staggering,” Woodrow stated. “This legislation helps cover those costs while promoting responsible gun ownership and ensuring safer communities.” He emphasized that the bill is designed to incentivize responsibility and ensure that victims of gun-related incidents are compensated.

Echoing Woodrow’s sentiments, Rep. Jodeh compared the requirement to other forms of mandatory insurance. “We require people to hold homeowners’ and car insurance, and deadly weapons should not be treated differently,” Jodeh said. She stressed that the bill is part of broader efforts to strengthen guardrails around gun ownership, which she claims could potentially prevent crime and reduce the incidents of gun violence that Colorado has historically faced.

The bill has sparked a mixed reaction, with proponents praising its potential to enhance community safety and critics arguing it might impose unnecessary burdens on lawful gun owners.

“I am deeply concerned that this will be used as an advantage to do other insidious things,” said Rep. Ron Weinberg, R-Loveland. “As legislators in this building, there’s one thing we have to do: stop going down rabbit holes. Once we put one thing in order, there’s many to follow. One of the greatest reasons this country exists as it does today is because of law and order and the Second Amendment, and if we start chipping away at any of those with small things such as this, we will find ourselves in a difficult spot.”

According to a 2023 study, a significant majority of American consumers (75 percent) support the idea of mandatory liability insurance for gun owners, suggesting widespread public approval of the measure.

Mandatory gun insurance in the US

Colorado is not the first state to propose gun insurance – four other states at least have passed, or have seriously considered passing, similar legislation, and in Ohio legislators were working on a bill late last year to prohibit mandatory insurance.

New York New York has been a pioneer in requiring gun owners to obtain liability insurance. The law mandates that gun owners have liability insurance to cover damages or injuries caused by their firearms.

California - California has proposed legislation regarding gun insurance, but as of the last update, it has not passed a law requiring mandatory gun insurance. However, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country concerning other aspects of gun ownership.

Massachusetts - Massachusetts has also considered gun insurance legislation but hasn’t passed a mandatory insurance requirement.

Illinois - Illinois has seen proposals for $1,000,000 mandatory gun insurance but has not enacted them into law.

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