Assemblymembers Ting and Gomez Introduce Gun Liability Insurance Bill

For immediate release:

Second measure will provide tax credit for guns turned in to buyback programs

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D – San Francisco) and Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D – Los Angeles) introduced legislation, AB 231,* today that will require gun owners to purchase liability insurance to cover the cost of damage that may be caused by the weapon.

“The government requires insurance as a condition of operating a car – at the very least we should impose a similar requirement for owning a firearm,” Ting said.  “The cost to society of destruction by guns is currently being born collectively by all of us, and not by those who, either through carelessness or malice, cause the destruction.  It is time to change that equation so that those who cause the harm pay the costs.”

“Our goal is to make sure that those who own guns do so in the most responsible way possible.  A liability insurance requirement will incentivize gun owners to take safety precautions – such as using a trigger lock, keeping their guns locked when not in use, and participating in a training course – in order to get a more affordable insurance policy,” Gomez said.

A second measure authored by Ting, AB 232, was introduced today to provide a state income tax credit to persons who turn in a firearm to a local gun buyback program, pegged to the value of the weapon, up to a $1,000 cap.

“Gun buyback programs are an effective way to reduce the number of guns in circulation, and lower the risk of intentional or accidental damage by these weapons.  We need to step up the financial incentives for voluntary buyback programs that have been successful so far, but will be even more effective if we provide the right incentives to motivate people to participate,” Ting said.

Quick facts about gun-related destruction:

  • According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the mean medical cost per gun injury was approximately $17,000 in 1994; roughly $1.1 billion was paid by Unites States taxpayers.
  • From 2005 – 2010, nearly 3,800 people in the US died from unintentional shootings. Eight percent of such deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six.
  • Most unintentional firearm deaths among children occur in or around the home; 50% at the home of the victim and 40% at the home of a friend or relative.
  • The US General Accounting Office estimates that 31% of unintentional deaths caused by firearms could be prevented by the addition of a child-proof safety lock and loading indicator.
  • More than one-half of firearm owners keep their firearms loaded and ready for use some of the time.
  • Approximately 3.3 million children in the US live in households with firearms that are, at times, kept loaded and unlocked.
  • For every time a household gun was used for self-defense, there were four unintentional shootings.  Overall, guns kept in the home were 22 times more likely to be used in unintentional shootings, murder or assault, and suicide attempts than in an act of self-defense.

*As proposed to be amended

Colleen Beamish (Ting),  916.319.2019
John Scribner (Gomez),  916.319.2051