Obamacare flops puts damper on gun insurance proposals

Opponents of mandated liability coverage for gun owners find success in linking the idea unfavorably with Obamacare.



Support for several proposals that would mandate liability coverage for the nation’s gun owners took a nose dive this week as opponents compared the policies to the embattled Affordable Care Act.

Prospective legislation in Illinois, California, Connecticut and Maryland was either voted down or withdrawn as lack of support, based on poor opinions of President Barack Obama’s healthcare mandate, became apparent.

“Society is not yet ready to impose the cost of gun ownership on owners and manufacturers,” said Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, who withdrew his firearms-liability bill this week. “That would require a dramatic shift in public understanding and political dialogue.”

In Illinois, a proposal that would have required gun owners to carry $1mn in liability insurance was voted down by a margin of more than two to one. Michael Bost, a Republican state senator who voted against the bill, said both the gun insurance measure and the ACA represented “too much government in my life.”

And it isn’t just pro-gun insurance measures that are being rejected. Some state legislators have even taken the opposite approach.

In Florida, state representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill this month that would prohibit insurers from underwriting a policy or refusing to provide coverage based on a client’s ownership of a legal firearm.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told the Associated Press negative public opinion of the ACA like Bost’s and Gaetz’s is likely behind the abysmal performance of the gun control measures.

“I don’t believe it’s going to gain any traction, particularly in light of the fact that we’ve got, at this juncture, a fiasco with Obamacare being mandatory,” Gottlieb said. “I don’t think legislators want to get near any kind of mandatory insurance.”

Indeed, a recent Gallup poll revealed that 56% of adults now say it’s not the government’s responsibility to ensure all Americans carry adequate healthcare. That’s down from a 2006 high, when 69% of Americans were supportive of government-mandated healthcare.

Still, proponents of mandated insurance for gun owners say they haven’t given up the fight. Raskin said the opportune moment will arrive, though unfortunately at catastrophic cost.

“It’s likely this won’t come back again until, God forbid, the next huge round of spectacular gun violence and we summon the momentum to act again,” he said.


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