Saturday, February 02, 2013

Instead of gun control, insurance

I think I've come up with a solution to the gun control issue. It's pretty simple if you think about it, and Republicans can't complain because it is a quintessentially capitalistic solution.

Here it is: on every kind of insurance form require that the following questions be answered:

1. Is there a gun in your household?
2. Is there more than one gun in your household?
3. If you do have a gun, do any of your guns qualify as assault weapons?

Based on the answers to these questions, the insurance industry--particularly the life insurance industry--can make gun owners bear their fair share of the risk of the harm they are likely to create. You have to tell insurance companies if you smoke, have high blood pressure, or diabetes, so why not require people to disclose if they own assault weapons? Assault weapons ought to be a pre-existing condition. Why should the victims' life and health insurance providers be made to bear the risk created by irresponsible gun owners after the fact? Let's factor the risk in up front and make people pay fair insurance premiums based on their own choices. What could be more reflective of a philosophy of taking responsibility for one's own choices?

It's really quite simple: authorize the insurance industry to collect this information and factor it into the rates they charge based on their actuarial calculations of risk. How much do you suppose it would cost to insure a household with three pistols and an assault rifle? That's the arsenal Nancy Lanza maintained in her household. How much would an insurance company charge for a policy on a household that contained that arsenal and a young man with severe emotional problems like Adam Lanza?

This isn't a problem of regulation folks; it's a problem of insurance.

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