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2 lawmakers would require California gun owners to buy insurance

February 6, 2013 |  8:00 am

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Gun owners in California would have to buy liability insurance to cover any damage caused by their firearms under legislation proposed Tuesday by two state lawmakers.

AB 231 was introduced by Democratic Assemblymen Jimmy Gomez of Echo Park and Phil Ting of San Francisco in the wake of the killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“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 borne collectively by all of us, and not by those who, either through carelessness or malice, cause the destruction.”

However, Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said the government cannot legally require citizens to buy insurance as a condition for exercising a constitutional right -- bearing firearms.

“Also, what more can you do to discriminate against low-income residents who live in high crime areas and need their guns to defend themselves, than to require them to buy insurance they cannot afford?’’ Paredes said.

Ting also introduced a bill on Tuesday that would provide a state income tax credit of up to $1,000 to people who turn in a firearm to a local gun buyback program. “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,’’ he said.

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--  Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department last month hosted “Gifts for Guns’’ in Compton,  where participants who surrendered any firearms received a gift card redeemable at Target or Ralphs. Credit: Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times

 

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