Regarding "Taking a Stand on Guns"


I read your post about limiting insurance of guns, and I must say that I think you are making a mistake.

First of all, $2500 might not cover the cost of a single gun. Certain components such as telescopic sights can get very pricey. A price cap mostly punishes enthusiasts with rare or custom-made guns. But the deadliest guns tend to be cheap handguns, not expensive rifles with fancy optics. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting1, almost half of all murders are committed with handguns. Only 3% of murders are committed with rifles of any kind.

Second, “assault weapon” is a political term, not a technical one. There is no agreed-upon definition, though it typically refers to semi-automatic rifles with certain cosmetic attributes. But functionally, these weapons are the same as any other semi-automatic rifle. Sincere use of terms like “assault weapon” and “military grade” reveals to gun owners that you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s similar to when pro-life people use terms like “partial-birth abortion”.

Third, by politicizing insurance you are breaking an important norm. There is already too much political divisiveness in this country, and your policy spreads it to a new domain. One could imagine other insurance companies taking stances on other political issues. Maybe one is run by environmentalists who won’t cover the loss of anything that runs on fossil fuels. Maybe one is run by teetotalers and refuses to insure more than $250 in alcohol. Maybe one is run by vegetarians and won’t insure the loss of farm animals. A general rule of, “It’s OK for insurance to take political stances.” makes everyone worse-off and invites calls for regulation. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t trust the current administration to regulate insurance in a way that is beneficial to society.

I hope you will reconsider your position.


Geoff Greer