Gun Stories of the Week: Federal Bill to Require Liability Insurance for Gun Owners Reintroduced

TOP STORY
Maloney reintroduces federal bill to require liability insurance for gun owners

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) continues to goose-step in accord with her mentor’s anti-Constitutional bigotry by reintroducing a failed federal bill that would require gun owners nationwide to carry liability insurance.

Maloney, arguably Congress's strongest gun-grabber, is a fawning acolyte of former Rep Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), whose unabashed hatred for guns and gun-owners spawned the term “Neo-McCarthyism.” Maloney attempted to introduce a similar bill in 2013 but it was tossed in the rubbage by the House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations and never made it to the floor.

That is the likely fate of Maloney’s revived Firearm Risk Protection Act in the Republican-controlled House. The new bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee but has yet to be assigned to a subcommittee.

Maloney told the Associated Press on June 9 that her new bill "makes more sense" because, she said, gun violence is killing as many people as car crashes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, firearm deaths (including suicide, homicide and accidental) in 2013 were at 33,636, which is a slight increase over the more than 32,200 in 2012.

"The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise," Maloney told the AP. "One reason is that auto insurance incentivizes precautions that reduce accidents, and make crashes less deadly. No similar incentives exist for gun owners."

The proposed bill would prohibit the sale or purchase of a firearm if the buyer is not covered by liability insurance. Failing to maintain the insurance would slap the gun owner with $10,000 fine, according to the bill.

Maloney said an insurance requirement would allow the free market to encourage cautious behavior and help save lives. "Adequate liability coverage would also ensure that the victims of gun violence are fairly compensated when crimes or accidents occur," she told the AP.

Sober adults say the bill not only infringes on Americans' Second Amendment rights, but fails to accept the reality that, as National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told the AP, gun-related violence "is at an all-time low."

Maloney is creating "a solution in search of a problem,” Baker said. "What she failed to mention is that unlike automobile fatalities, most firearms fatalities in the U.S. result from the uninsurable acts of intentional criminal behavior or self-inflicted acts, not accidents.”

Lawmakers in at least six states -- California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania – have considered and rejected requiring gun owners have liability insurance in the last two years, according to The New York Times.

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[States Consider Mandatory Insurance for Gun Owners](http://www.newsmax.com/US/gun-liability-insurance mandatory/2013/02/22/id/491542/#ixzz3clVN9nFE)

AN OUTRAGE REVERSED
NJ Gov. Christie pardons man made into a felon for possessing legal firearm

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on June 8 issued a pardon to 24-year-old Steffon Josey-Davis, a former armed guard for currency security company Loomis, who was arrested and charged in 2013 for accidentally transporting his legally registered handgun.

Following his absurd arrest, Josey-Davis was actually indicted by a grand jury in Middlesex County for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of New Jersey’s draconian and bizarre gun laws. He was facing 10 years in prison for running afoul of a technicality.

The arrest and indictment spurred head-scratching even among gun-grabbers and outrage among gun owners. At the behest of pro bono legal counsel from gun rights groups, he applied for a pardon from Gov. Christie.

The pardon reads, in part: “NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution of the State of New Jersey and the statures of this State, do hereby grant Steffon Josey-Davis, a full and free Pardon for all criminal charges and indictments arising from the arrest occurring September 20, 2013 to include the aforesaid crime, and this order is applicable solely to said criminal charge and indictment, and to no other.”

“I was pardoned by @GovChristie this morning. I really appreciate you. Thanks for the support! Justice!” Josey-Davis tweeted on June 8.

“While I’m unaware of anyone keeping statistics on which Governors issue the most firearms-related pardons, New Jersey’s shrill and paranoid gun control laws have certainly led Christie to issue two high-profile pardons this year, including Pennsylvania mother Shaneen Allen in April.” writes Bob Owens on bearingarms.com on June 9. “She had committed the Very Serious Crime of driving across a bridge from Pennsylvania with a licensed concealed weapon.”

Christie also commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken in 2010 from a long prison sentence for merely transporting firearms from one residence to another, Owens notes. Aitken had one of his convictions dismissed, another overturned, but is still fighting to have the final charge dismissed.

Owens observed that Josey-Davis, who is black, never received any support from minority advocate groups. “The NAACP turned a deaf ear to the pleas of aspiring police officer Steffon Josey-Davis when he was convicted for running afoul of New Jersey’s draconian gun control laws,” he writes. “It was, instead, Second Amendment activists that stepped forward to convince Governor Chris Christie to issue Josey-Davis a pardon.”

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STATE ROUNDUP
Texas becomes seventh state to extend Constitution to college students

When Gov. Greg Abbott in early June signed a law overwhelmingly approved by state lawmakers to allow concealed carry on college campuses, Texas joined seven states -- Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin -- in extending the Constitution to college students.

But, according to a June 10 analysis by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the LA Times, the Texas campus carry bill was the only one of 15 similar proposals in other states to get approved thus far this year. A proposed Ohio campus carry bill is pending.

In fact, Hennessy-Fiske writes, 19 other states explicitly ban concealed carry on campuses, including California, Florida and New York. “As so often happens with gun legislation, the rest of the nation is a hodgepodge of laws,” she writes, “The remaining 23 states, including Alabama and Arizona, leave campus-carry decisions to college officials or their state boards of regents.”

Therefore, according to pundits and other “experts,” the fact that only one of 15 proposals was approved thus far this year, may indicate the tide has turned in favor of gun control advocates and that the “gun rights lobby” may have reached its high-water mark in terms of political efficacy.

"For something that was such a big priority for the (National Rifle Association), this year, this was a failure," Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told Hennessy-Fiske.

The Texas campus carry bill, which goes into effect August 2016, includes a compromise measure that allows public universities to leave portions of campus gun-free, and give private universities the chance to opt out of the law, although it's not clear how many schools might succeed in becoming exempt from the law.

"It will be interesting to see how they handle the fact that they still have some authority and see what areas they prohibit and how that works out," Cutilletta told Hennessy-Fiske.

David Kopel of the Denver-based Independence Institute said gun rights advocates recognize parts of campuses may need to remain gun-free, such as hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Like Cutilletta, he said those in other states hoping to pass similar measures will closely watch the Texas compromise.

"My prediction is that, as with licensed carry in general, this isn't something that's going to sweep the country," Kopel told Hennessy-Fiske. "It's going to be more of a year-by-year thing; more states will adopt it once they see how it works in the earlier ones – Texas in particular.”

Kopel added that the biggest argument against allowing guns on campus -- that students' tempers might flare and provoke a mass shooting -- have been disproved in Colorado, Idaho and other states where the measures have been on the books for years.

"It's all these doomsday scenarios that don't come true: arguments in the classrooms and then the guns come out. Utah's had it for a long time and that hasn't happened," he told Hennessy-Fiske.

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IN THE COURTS
Supreme Court rejects NRA appeal over San Francisco gun laws

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 8 dismissed a National Rifle Association-led appeal challenging a San Francisco law that requires handgun owners to secure weapons in their homes by storing them in a locker, keeping them on their bodies or applying trigger locks.

The court also let stand a second city ordinance that bans the sale of ammunition that has "no sporting purpose" specifically hollow-point bullets.

The Court denied certiorari in Jackson v. San Francisco, a challenge to the city’s law that mandates owners keep handguns "stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock that has been approved by the California Department of Justice."

Opponents claim the law essentially renders their guns inoperable, making it impossible for them to defend themselves in an emergency, such as a home invasion.

Only two of the requisite four justices (Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia) voted to review the challenge, stating in a dissent that the California law violates Second Amendment rights. Particularly, the justices said, the law conflicted with the Court's prior precedent in District of Columbia v. Heller, a case in which the Court held that a law that rendered handguns inoperable was unconstitutional.

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