Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, March 10, 2014 9:34 pm

Hey, conservatives: Here’s where personal responsibility meets gun ownership


Richard Mayhew, Balloon Juice’s resident health-insurance guru, on firearm safety:

When I learned how to shoot, I was taught the following three things:

  • Only point a weapon at something or someone that you intend to kill
  • Always assume a weapon is loaded, and the safety is off.
  • You are always responsible for your weapon until the weapon is in the armory’s gun safe.

Can we incorporate these basic assumptions into civil law where the assumption is that any discharge (intentional or accidental) is the responsibility of the owner of the weapon and therefore the owner is liable for whatever damage a bullet fired from his weapon causes.  Liability would follow even stolen weapons if reasonable efforts to secure the weapon were not made. …

There have been attempts to regulate firearms as a consumer protection issue, but the NRA is too strong.  This proposal moves responsibility down the chain to the individual owner instead of the manufacturer.

Which is exactly where it should be. Hello, personal responsibility.

The rational response of creating the assumption that the weapon owner is liable absent extraordinary circumstances instead of the current assumption that [expletive] happens is for responsible owners to buy insurance to cover their liability.  Speaking as an insurance company bureaucrat, I would assume insurance companies would offer good rates to individuals who own longarms instead of handguns, who have a gun safe, who have trigger locks, who have gone to safety classes and who have otherwise demonstrated that they actually are reasonably likely to be safe.

Individuals who think “tactical” masturbatory fantasies are reality and believe that everyone should have a loaded pistol in their unlocked night stand even if they have two pre-kindergarteners in the house would probably be rated as high risk for negligent discharge.  Individuals who have more weapons than fingers would probably be rated as risky.  Individuals who have a history of accidental discharge would be rated as risky.

I’m not a fan of using liberterianish policy making as a first best choice, but my political judgement is that this type of regulation is the only viable away forward right now.  And going back to my health policy wonkery, reducing gun woundings means lower trauma costs, and lower recovery costs to cover.

I’m sure the NRA as an organization would fight this tooth and nail, of course. But I think it would be instructive to see the number of “personal responsibility” conservatives and libertarians and the number of so-called responsible gun owners who would fight it as well. I’d be delighted to be proved badly wrong on this, but I suspect that well more than half of American gun owners, if polled, would oppose this measure even if the reasons and benefits were explained carefully to them.

Because for way too many American gun owners, it’s not about rights and responsibilities, it’s about I want what I want and [expletive] you. I saw that attitude over and over and over again while covering cops (not from cops, but from many of the people with whom they interacted), and that’s why I say this: Whatever else it is, the American gun-owning public is in no way, shape or form a well-regulated militia.

12 Comments »

  1. The problem with that suggestion, of course, is that every single gun owner is convinced that they’re “responsible” (just as every hunter I ever met was “responsible”, except when they weren’t). Sure, the guy with the loaded gun in his nightstand would be seen as high risk, except that the insurance company wouldn’t know that until after he’s winged one of his kids (or one of them shot the other). I suppose the insurance companies would do some profiling just as they do drivers, but I’m not sure they could get away with creating a category called “redneck dumbasses” that they could charge the kind of rates they do teenage male drivers. Nice idea though, and one that I’ve certainly suggested.

    Comment by Tony Plutonium — Monday, March 10, 2014 9:45 pm @ 9:45 pm | Reply

  2. So your point is “only celebrities and politicians should be allowed to own guns.”

    Comment by GSP — Monday, March 10, 2014 11:13 pm @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  3. No one said anything about “celebrities and politicians,” so your point is that you cannot read. Duly noted.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:07 am @ 10:07 am | Reply

  4. Liability would follow even stolen weapons if reasonable efforts to secure the weapon were not made. …

    So, what is a ‘reasonable effort to secure the weapons” — keeping it in my house where a burglar isn’t supposed to be?
    Locking it in my car, again where a burglar isn’t supposed to be?

    Do I need a safe that can resist efforts to break into it for 2 hours? 10?

    And why would I be liable for something stolen from me? I’m not liable for damages if someone steals my car, I’m not liable if someone steals my money, buys a gun and kills someone?
    Sounds like a case of “oh…firearms ARE Different because we say so”

    But I think it would be instructive to see the number of “personal responsibility” conservatives and libertarians and the number of so-called responsible gun owners who would fight it as well.

    How about we implement a policy requiring people who do not own firearms and especially do not carry them to have extra home owners and medical insurance? Thieves are known to avoid people they believe to be armed. Unarmed people are more likely to be injured in a criminal assault; there fore require more medical care.

    Because for way too many American gun owners, it’s not about rights and responsibilities, it’s about I want what I want and [expletive] you.

    And how do you view the issue “its about what YOU want and (((Expletive deleted)) you gun owners”. Never mind the fact that statistics show very few ‘gun owners’ are part of the problem. Even if ever firearm related homicide and firearm related violent crime was committed by a different gun owner (approximately 400,000 per year according to Bureau of Justice Statistics) out of the 85,000,000 gun owners, that makes 0.47%.

    Less than 0.50% of all gun owners. Now combine that with the F.B.I. estimation that nearly half of all homicides and 85% of all violent crime is drug or gang related; isn’t it pretty clear the average gun owner isn’t the problem?

    Whatever else it is, the American gun-owning public is in no way, shape or form a well-regulated militia.

    Sounds like Sour Grapes whining here — The Heller Decision made it abundantly clear that the “militia” is a reason for the 2nd Amendment but not the only reason

    Bob S.
    3 Boxes of BS

    Comment by 3boxesofbs — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:28 pm @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  5. [[So, what is a ‘reasonable effort to secure the weapons” ]] If you’ll follow the link, you’ll see that Mayhew explains what he means by that.

    [[Sounds like a case of “oh…firearms ARE Different because we say so”]] That’s one argument. It’s flawed, but it’s an argument.

    [[And how do you view the issue “its about what YOU want and (((Expletive deleted)) you gun owners”. Never mind the fact that statistics show very few ‘gun owners’ are part of the problem. Even if ever firearm related homicide and firearm related violent crime was committed by a different gun owner (approximately 400,000 per year according to Bureau of Justice Statistics) out of the 85,000,000 gun owners, that makes 0.47%.]]

    But firearm-related deaths are among the leading causes of death, and many of those deaths are preventable, particularly “accidents” and suicides. They also account for a disproportionate share of medical costs, which, again, Mayhew is considering because he deals in health insurance for a living. I notice you don’t appear to question my characterization of the attitudes of a lot of so-called responsible gun owners.

    [[Now combine that with the F.B.I. estimation that nearly half of all homicides and 85% of all violent crime is drug or gang related; isn’t it pretty clear the average gun owner isn’t the problem?]] Yes, in this sense: The average gun owner is where most of those guns used in violent crime originate because so-called responsible gun owners don’t secure their weapons. The feds have research backing that up, and I can tell you that in several years as a full-time public safety reporter I looked at hundreds of reports pertaining to firearm larcenies. Not one — not a single one — was taken from a locked vehicle or locked gun safe.

    [[Sounds like Sour Grapes whining here — The Heller Decision made it abundantly clear that the “militia” is a reason for the 2nd Amendment but not the only reason]] I have no sour grapes. I’m a gun-rights advocate, including concealed carry. But I also know from both research and street experience that a metric shit-ton of gun owners are not as responsible as I am.

    I say again: I’d love to be wrong. But I bet a majority of gun owners would oppose this decision and that they would do it for all the wrong reasons. Your post has given me no reason to change my mind.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:42 pm @ 3:42 pm | Reply

    • Lex,

      But firearm-related deaths are among the leading causes of death,

      Care to back up your claim?

      Oh wait, here is from the CDC
      Number of deaths for leading causes of death

      Heart disease: 597,689
      Cancer: 574,743
      Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
      Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
      Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
      Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
      Diabetes: 69,071
      Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
      Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
      Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

      Intentional suicides using firearm is approximately half the total — So 10 place if you include all suicides; much lower if not.

      Sorry but Firearms aren’t among the leading causes of death.

      I notice you don’t appear to question my characterization of the attitudes of a lot of so-called responsible gun owners.

      Yep, I don’t try to argue with someone who has already shown such predisposition to ignoring facts and evidence yo believe what you want. I notice you don’t dispute incredibly low number of gun owners involved. But yet you still want to require 99.5% of all gun owners to have greater restrictions and burdens. Even knowing that the criminals will not be affected by those burdens.

      Yes, in this sense: The average gun owner is where most of those guns used in violent crime originate because so-called responsible gun owners don’t secure their weapons.

      BUNK. Again gun owners aren’t leaving their firearms on their front porches, not leaving them on the mail boxes on the street. They are securing them in their houses. Hey, I have a great IDEA !! Let’s make it illegal to break into houses and steal firearms. That will stop it right?

      Or how about this idea; all you folks who are so concerned about how people are storing their firearms can get together and start buying safes for everyone. That will reduce the number of thefts, right?

      The sour grapes comment was concerning the “militia” argument. That is complete bunk, It as been discredited so many times it is not even funny an longer.

      But I bet a majority of gun owners would oppose this decision and that they would do it for all the wrong reasons.

      Let’s see

      Most gun owners are safe and responsible – yet you claim otherwise.
      Most gun owners aren’t involved in crime – yet you want to make them pay more to exercise their rights
      Most gun owners aren’t involved in shootings — yet you support liability requirements against them.

      Gee, I can’t imagine why most gun owners wouldn’t support your ideas.

      Comment by 3boxesofbs — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:24 pm @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  6. Since I said “firearm deaths,” inclusively, yes, it’s a Top 10 cause of death (and even higher among certain demographics).

    You keep talking about “incredibly low numbers of gun owners” while ignoring the large number of deaths, and the large percentage of those deaths that would be prevented with better care. I’m pretty sure I’m not the one in denial here.

    You officially and publicly are stating that you have no responsibility to keep your firearms secured when they’re not in use. The U.S. military, among others, would say that that makes you an irresponsible gun owner.

    I think we’re done here. You for damn sure are done here.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:41 pm @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  7. Caling No Mas No Mas. Game, set, match . The winna is 3 Boxes of BS

    Gun safety is a strawman put out by 2A foes.

    The real issue is gun confiscation . Hooray for these patriots

    En Masse, Connecticut’s Gun Owners Defy New Registration Law

    If soldiers at Ft. Hood had been packing Dr Hssan ( the Islamic terrorist ) would have been Swiss cheese

    Israelis baffled-by news of defenseless US Soldiers>\

    And Hasan should have been removed from the service long before he had a chance to pull off his bloody Jihad but that is another subject for another day

    It’s 3AM and an intruder is in your castle. Do you have precious seconds to unlock the gun safe and remove the trigger guard in order to defend you and your family ? Sorta doubt it . DRT..

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Tuesday, March 11, 2014 9:03 pm @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  8. Fred, I defy you to prove that “the real issue is gun confiscation.” Go on. Do it. I’ll wait.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:50 am @ 8:50 am | Reply

  9. Lex, don’t defy me to prove anything cuz I’ll damn well do it, bro..

    Gun poll: Most say background checks may bring confiscation

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:57 pm @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  10. Not this time: Here’s the lead from the very story to which you link:

    A plurality of Americans believe the federal government could use information gleaned from expanded background checks to confiscate legally owned firearms, according to a Quinnipiac survey released Thursday.

    But the poll also showed support for background checks remains nearly universal.

    That doesn’t prove that the real issue is gun confiscation. It proves that a nontrivial minority of Americans think that background checks could lead to gun confiscation, not that gun confiscation is the, or even a, key issue. And how worried are they about any link between background checks and gun confiscation? So “worried” that an overwhelming majority want background checks anyway.

    Try again. Bro.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:18 pm @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  11. This nutsy group of whackos are for gun safety. They stand with you or vice versa

    Dubious Mayors Against Legal Guns: The not so pretty story behind Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns

    “And by uniting a broad coalition of millions of Americans, we intend to take the fight for common-sense gun safety measures to a new level,” Bloomberg and Watts added. “It’s a fight that can be won, and—unless we are willing accept that 33 Americans will be murdered with guns every day—it’s a fight we must win.”

    The statement is typical of the absurdity of most gun control groups, which assert they support “common sense” laws, while demonizing their opponents as being perfectly content with dozens of murders taking place every day. This ignores the fact that most anti-gun laws proposed would not have prevented the mass shootings or the bulk of gun crimes that occur on the streets each day.

    Seven days after the Newtown shooting, Bloomberg’s mayoral staff and MAIG staffers were shown to be hard at work for a publicity blitz on the airwaves. Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the Mayor’s office of media and entertainment, e-mailed Feinblatt:

    “The mayor will tweet about this and we want to send traffic to Demandaplan.org we also would like celebrities who participated in the campaign to – retweet Mike Bloomberg’s tweets – can we reach out to all the celebrity participants and coordinate that effort?”

    Some angst arose over the matter of celebrity endorsements. Another e-mail exchange showed that MAIG director Glaze was upset with a fellow gun control group, the Brady Campaign, which was apparently also pouncing on the opportunity to recruit Hollywood stars for anti-gun commercials in the aftermath of the Connecticut carnage. MAIG was enjoying the attention it was receiving as the new voice of gun control and clearly didn’t want to cede that ground back to the old voice.

    Referring to a celebrity agent, Glaze wrote Feinblatt in an e-mail, “Brady is trying to persuade both her and other celebs to do [public service announcement] with [B]rady instead. That’s all I know, but he’d done this kind of thing before, and we need to cut it off.”

    This prompted a verbal shootout between the anti-gun advocates. Glaze sent a terse e-mail to Brady Campaign President Daniel Gross: “Dan – if true that you are attempting to intervene in the work we are doing with celebrities on Demand A Plan and drive them toward Brady: don’t.”

    Gross replied, “Making our schools and communities safer is the only thing on our mind versus our misplaced focus on strange e-mails and threats.”

    Gross continued, “Bottom line is, some people are coming to Brady to engage, some people are coming to MAIG and some are coming to both. What’s most important is that they’re engaging at this most critical moment, to create the change we all seek. We wish you only the best in all your important efforts and look forward [to] the day we find smart ways to work together.”

    Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton believed the e-mails showed the true nature of the organization. “This was a lobbying effort funded by taxpayers,” Fitton told TheBlaze. “There is a legal question here. There is certainly enough smoke and fire here. It certainly warrants an investigation. Someone entrusted to public office is only supposed to do the public’s work there.” Fitton added. “It says something when political aides were trying to figure out how their boss could benefit politically from the mass murder of children.”

    Facing Embarrassment
    The mayors group has had other embarrassing moments in its zealotry to push gun legislation in 2013. In June of that year, the group had to apologize after reading off the name of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev among the names of victims of gun violence at a MAIG event in New Hampshire (Fox News, July 29, 2013).

    The group has also alienated Democrats, and not just pro-Second Amendment ones like Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, whom the group launched vicious attack ads against, but also far left Senators such as Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Charles Schumer of New York, who found Bloomberg’s group to be a bit too snippy (National Review, Aug. 13, 2013).

    Sen. Pryor was among red state Democrats who voted against the Tooney-Manchin background check legislation. After MAIG sponsored attack ads against Pryor, the senator responded in his own ad, “The mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I opposed President Obama’s gun-control legislation. I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do.”

    Schumer piled on: “Frankly, I don’t think Bloomberg’s ads are effective. The mayor of New York City putting ads against people in red states is not going to be effective.” Meanwhile, Leahy said on C-SPAN, “Unfortunately, you have some on the left, like the mayor of New York City, who actually didn’t help a bit with his ads. He actually turned off some people that we might have gotten for supporters.”

    Still, the organization believed it had a successful year, with Bloomberg spending well over $15 million of his own money to push gun restrictions in states.

    The Connecticut legislature passed a gun control package that included a gun registry and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Delaware passed strengthened background checks for all private gun sales. Maryland passed a new requirement for fingerprinting anyone getting a gun license, strengthened an existing ban on automatic weapons, and restricted high-capacity magazines. New York state passed laws increasing background checks, banning magazines with more than seven rounds, and strengthening a ban on so-called assault weapons.

    These blue state anti-gun bills were indeed good investments for the billionaire. But a key purple battleground state proved embarrassing for Bloomberg. With a lobbying assist from MAIG, Colorado passed a gun control package that included enhanced background checks and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Angry local citizens then started a recall movement against Colorado State Senate President John Morse and fellow state Sen. Angela Giron, both Democrats and leaders in the fight to restrict gun rights. Bloomberg threw $350,000 out of his own pocket into the campaign, while MAIG had a field operation on the ground in the two state Senate districts, hoping to save the lawmakers.

    Giron even said before the September election that if she lost, MAIG “might as well fold up.” Voters turned both Democrats out of office, and the NRA gleefully tweeted that Bloomberg “wasted his money” (New York Daily News, Sept. 11, 2013).

    The group’s embarrassment was increased by the fact that anti-recall groups—Bloomberg and MAIG, as well as other big money groups that back Democrats like the American Federation of Teachers—outspent the recall effort by at least 2 to 1. This was evident as anti-recall commercials reportedly ran during NFL football games, while pro-recall ads frequently ran after midnight. Nevertheless, Morse was booted out by a 51 percent majority, and Giron was ousted by a more decisive 56 percent (American Spectator, Sept. 11, 2013).

    Gun control is still not a mainstream idea no matter how the Bloomberg-funded group wants to spin it. Last year more than 50 mayors saw through the spin and began bolting from membership. The group has claimed to have gained more members than it lost, but the defections are significant. What’s more, the defectors have questioned the integrity of the organization’s mission.

    Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Mayor John Tkazyik, a Republican, announced in February he quit MAIG because it was anti-gun. “I’m no longer a member of MAIG,” he wrote in the Poughkeepsie Journal. “Why? Just as Ronald Reagan said of the Democratic Party, it left me,” Tkazyik wrote. “MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda—violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and taking resources away from initiatives that could actually work to protect our neighborhoods and save precious lives. Gun control will actually make a bad situation worse.”

    Rockford, Ill. Mayor Lawrence Morrisey expressed similar concerns. “The reason why I joined the group in the first place is because I took the name for what it said—against ‘illegal’ guns,” said Morrisey. “I thought it was about enforcement of (the) existing gun laws. As the original mission swayed, that’s when I decided that it was no longer in line with my beliefs” (Fox News, July 29, 2013).

    Sioux City, Iowa Mayor Bob Scott also left the group, citing similar reasons: “They’re not just against illegal guns, they’re against all guns” (Sioux City Journal, July 25, 2013).

    Another example was Nashua, N.H. Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, who quit the group after it began running attack ads against New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte for opposing the background check bill. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t want to be part of something like that,’” Lozeau said. “I told them, ‘You’re Mayors Against Illegal Guns; you’re not mayors for gun control’” (Manchester Union Leader, July 22, 2013).

    New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, the Union Leader, in an editorial titled, “Mayors misled: Gun group needs a new name,” said that “Mayors Against Illegal Guns says its membership is growing. Either way, it should be honest about its mission and change its name to Liberal Mayors Against The Second Amendment.”

    Unsavory Mayors
    The mayors remaining in the organization aren’t the most appealing group. Though Marcus Hook Mayor Schiliro was the only member to be convicted of a gun-related crime, other members engaged in various illegalities. The New York Post even ran a piece on Nov. 29, 2013, about the group titled, “Illegal mayors against guns.” Among those cited were:

    * Monticello, N.Y. Mayor Gordon Jenkins, who was arrested in November 2013 for driving under the influence and punching a police department clock, forcing officers to handcuff him to a chair.

    * Spring Valley, N.Y. Mayor Noramie Jasmin, charged with accepting bribes from an FBI informant in April 2013.

    * Gainesville, Fla. Mayor Craig Lowe, charged with driving under the influence after he was found asleep at the scene of a car accident.

    The Second Amendment Foundation even started a spoof website, Gun Owners Against Illegal Mayors at http://www.StopIllegalMayors.com. The 11 former mayors and MAIG members listed on the site that were charged or convicted include:

    * Former Baltimore, Md. Mayor Sheila Dixon, charged with fraud, perjury, and embezzling gift cards meant for the poor.

    * Former Hartford, Conn. Mayor Eddie Perez, charged with bribery and conspiracy.

    * Former New Haven, Conn. Mayor April Almon, charged with interfering with police officers on duty.

    * Former Detroit, Mich. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, convicted of perjury.

    That doesn’t mean you judge MAIG itself by a few bad mayors. But it does speak to the character of an organization that feels compelled to infringe on the civil liberties of Americans across the country.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:35 am @ 2:35 am | Reply


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