Sounds like the rest of the establishment is finally catching up with my kid's idea about mandatory gun insurance that I first wrote about in 2011. I really do think it's a rational idea, and I'd love to see it become reality -- right after Congress reinstates liability for gun manufacturers, of course.
All kinds of proposals to reduce gun violence have been floated recently. One idea that has gotten the attention of economists is liability insurance. Most states require car owners to have liability insurance to cover damages their vehicles cause to others; some economists think we should require the same of gun owners.
We reached out to a few economists to get their thoughts.
Justin Wolfers, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, wrote:
The real problem with gun ownership is that they involve "externalities," which is economist-speak for the fact that your gun may be used to hurt others. For instance, when Nancy Lanza purchased her Bushmaster AR-15, she probably weighed the benefits of owning the gun — the joy of ownership — with the price (about $800). But it's unlikely she considered the loss, pain and grief that might follow if it were used by her son to kill 26 innocents. When people fail to consider the broader social costs of choices like buying a gun, they're more likely to do them, and society suffers.
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