Democratic lawmakers proposed legislation Tuesday that would require California gun owners to buy liability insurance to cover damages or injuries caused by their weapons.
Similar bills have been introduced in other states after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. They include Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.
"I was moved, like many others, being the father of two young children, by the Sandy Hook incident and looking for constructive ways to manage gun violence here in California as well as the rest of the country," said Assemblyman Philip Ting of San Francisco, who introduced AB231 along with Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles. "There's basically a cost that is born by the taxpayers when accidents occur. ... I don't think that taxpayers should be footing those bills."
Ting equated the idea to requiring vehicle owners to buy auto insurance. Gomez said it would encourage gun owners to take firearms safety classes and keep their guns locked up to get lower insurance rates.
No state has enacted the requirement despite repeated previous attempts, said Jon Griffin, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Bills have been offered unsuccessfully in Massachusetts and New York since at least 2003, when the conference began keeping track, he said. Similar bills were proposed in Illinois in 2009 and in Pennsylvania last year. Lawmakers are introducing the bills this year in even more states after the recent shootings.