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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 23, 2018 02:51 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Firearm Insurance Coverage
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would require sellers and purchasers of firearms to hold liability insurance coverage.

Many of my colleagues and I have been fighting for years to enact responsible gun control measures. In the wake of the horrific Parkland, Florida school shooting, we need to keep that fight going. Acts of gun violence devastate families and communities, which can have a lasting economic impact. I believe we should complement existing proposals on reasonable gun control measures with economic disincentives to regulate the purchase and use of firearms.

This proposal will not prohibit anyone from purchasing a firearm, but would require the purchaser to have an insurance coverage policy in place before the sale. Sellers would be responsible for making sure that purchasers have appropriate insurance in place before completing the transaction.

Those who are least likely to commit a crime with a firearm will pay the least for insurance. This will also incentive manufacturers to make their products safer. When you buy a car, your insurer underwrites the risk according to your risk factors. Riskier drivers pay more for insurance and some may be denied coverage altogether.

Those most at risk to commit a gun crime would be identified by the actuaries researching for insurers. Similar to auto insurance, they would be underwritten according to age, mental health, place of residence, credit/bankruptcy record and marital status. Insurers have been doing this for centuries in the areas of health, auto, home and life insurance and would be well-suited to do so for owners of firearms.

This could also reduce occurrences of “straw purchasing” where someone buys a firearm and gives it someone who is unable to purchase one. The original purchaser would be required to have insurance and would be liable for any acts committed with the weapons they purchased.

We have gone far too long without addressing the issues of gun violence in this commonwealth and too many lives have been lost because of it. Please join me in sponsoring this important step toward protecting our citizens.

Introduced as SB1182