They appear to be going nowhere in state legislatures:
A mandate for gun buyers could be more challenging than for drivers, given insurers’ aversion to the risk from assaults. That compares with U.S. auto insurance, where companies spend more than $5 billion a year to win customers in a $178 billion market.
“That’s why things like mandatory auto insurance kind of work, because you’ve already got a highly functional market and it’s a matter of herding the last stragglers into it,” Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a think tank dedicated to limited government, said in an interview. “But when there is no functional insurance market at all for some kind of risk, it’s a different question.”
It doesn’t help that the ObamaCare episode has raised public resistance to the idea of mandatory insurance. Related: even two authors somewhat favorably disposed toward the idea, and who believe it might be enacted in some forms without overstepping the Constitution, predict its effect in reducing injury by deterring negligent gun handling would “probably not be very great.” [Stephen Gilles and Nelson Lund, Regulation magazine (Cato, PDF)]
On Hallowe’en I often recall my ancestor Lydia Gilbert of Windsor, Ct., convicted of witchcraft in 1654 and probably executed (accounts here, here). Three years earlier Henry Stiles had been killed by an apparently accidental discharge of the firearm of neighbor Thomas Allyn, and three years later Lydia was charged with being the true cause of this misadventure. In modern American law we might call that third-party liability. And from a few years ago, a durable favorite post: “Toronto schools: Halloween insensitive to witches.”
The practice of destroying guns seized by police makes approximately as much sense as shredding money that falls into local governments’ hands, unless, like the Chicago police department, you adopt the view that “guns are the equivalent of free-roaming cobras, being lethal and unmanageable by any means except elimination.” [Steve Chapman, syndicated]
“…based their search on a charge made by [his] estranged wife.” What, no armored vehicles? After tearing up the Georgetown home of businessman Mark Witaschek, police say they found some ammunition — which is unlawful to possess in D.C., even spent shells and casings, unless you are a licensed gun owner — but Witaschek says he is standing on principle and turned down a probation plea. [Washington Times]
Sending fake gunmen into schools as an exercise? Have authorities lost their mind? [Jennifer Abel, Anorak via Brian Doherty]
“…You Must Keep Your Guns Locked Up,” on pain of criminal punishment. At least that’s the import of an odd new California measure signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. [Eugene Volokh]
Assuming gun ownership should be licensed at all — a big if — there are imaginable scenarios in which a legally blind person might legitimately fire a gun in self-defense or participate in target shooting at a range. Wisconsin is even said to smile officially on hunting by blind persons, presumably to the benefit of those visually impaired who can distinguish partridge sounds in the underbrush from people sounds. To officials in Iowa, however, the issue is pre-decided: “State law bans officials from discriminating against the blind on the basis of their disability, and hence a gun permit cannot be denied solely on that basis, officials tell the [Des Moines Register].” [ABA Journal, Daily Caller [Wisconsin], Lowering the Bar]
Next time someone says big money calls all the shots in American politics, remember that an 8-1 money advantage fueled by Michael Bloomberg and other national donors wasn’t enough to save the seats of two lawmakers who’d helped push a gun-control package through the Colorado Senate, thus infuriating constituents in a marginal Colorado Springs district and in the blue-collar Democratic stronghold of Pueblo. [Denver Post, David Kopel, Volokh Conspiracy, The Denver Channel]
Meanwhile, New York City Democratic primary voters decided against nominating whited sepulcher Eliot Spitzer as the city’s next comptroller, thus foiling Spitzer’s plan to get his hands on billions of pension fund dollars with which to engage in grandstanding and litigation [WABC, Lawrence Cunningham]
P.S. Less happily, voters in Richmond, Calif. are going to let the city administration proceed with a scheme to seize underwater mortgages by use of eminent domain [Daniel Fisher, more, earlier]
Operationally, it may function that way, if Barton Hinkle’s analysis is right. That would at least explain why Mayor Bloomberg would feel confident about his consistency in favoring both, though it leaves unexplained why the left-right polarities in so many other quarters should reverse so sharply between the one issue and the other.
Strong-arming gun makers to act against their perceived business interests, as well as those of their customers:
…in retrospect, there were a few clues that Spitzer was eying a job whose duties include managing the city’s pension funds…
In December, after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Spitzer wrote a column in the online publication Slate arguing that pension funds should use their investing clout to pressure corporations such as gunmakers to act in the public interest.
New York City’s comptroller, Spitzer said in the interview, is “a significant player in terms of the pension funds and how those shares are voted. And when I speak with folks about corporate governance, the missing link in all of this has been ownership.”
Eliot Spitzer has long been a key player in efforts to intimidate lawful gun manufacturers through both strained litigation theories and hamhanded attempts at economic pressure. The NYC comptroller’s office, with its sway over billions in pension fund money, would present him with a large sandbox indeed.
David Bosco, assistant professor at American University and contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, tweeting about the U.N. international small arms treaty that’s met with intense opposition from some gun-rights groups:
Daniel Fisher explains how new restrictions by Connecticut lawmakers on ammunition sales are having the presumably unintended effect of incentivizing hunting and sporting users of guns to seek concealed-carry permits. [Forbes]