Justin Wolfers discusses liability insurance for gun owners on NPR's Morning Edition

January 31, 2013

Justin Wolfers spoke with National Public Radio's Morning Edition about requiring gun owners to hold liability insurance in order to help keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who may use them irresponsibly. By requiring gun owners to provide information about their gun-use habits, Wolfers said, insurers could identify individuals who pose the greatest risk and charge premiums accordingly.

"Insurance companies would look at someone who is a responsible hunter, who used a gun lock, kept their gun stored separately from where they had their ammunition, had it locked away. They would probably charge them much, much lower premiums than they would for instance a young hothead who stored their gun near their bed," Wolfers told NPR.
Wolfers also said that requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance would be more equitable, because it would require individuals who benefit from gun ownership to pay for the social cost that it entails.

"We know that cars kill people and so we have strong liability insurance requirements for cars," Wolfers said. "We also know that guns kill in the Unites States literally tens of thousands of people a year. It seems like it's creating enormous social harm and we're asking you to pay for it."

Wolfers said the revenues from the sale of liability insurance could be used to compensate the families of victims of gun violence.