Mayor Daley’s kind of law professor

Bernard Bell, a law professor at Rutgers, advocates imposing liability on gun ownerseven those who have done nothing wrong.

Perhaps it is time to think about handgun ownership as the type of activity that should give rise to liability without fault. Thus, while those unlawfully threatening gun owners obviously could not recover damages for their injuries, innocent bystanders and others injured by gun owners would be compensated.

When Bell says “injured by gun owners,” by the way, he doesn’t really mean . . . “injured by gun owners,” he means injured by (for example) someone else, who stole the gun from its rightful owner.

We then get to the part Mayor Daley should really like:

A move toward absolute liability would ideally be accompanied by private insurers’ willingness to insure gun owners against such liability. Such insurance should be separate from standard homeowners’ insurance, so that homeowners who do not own guns are not required to subsidize those who do.

The cost of insurance would reflect the expected cost of compensating gun injuries to innocent people. Individuals would then have the incentive to weigh the cost of injuries to others in deciding whether to purchase or keep firearms.

Daley hinted at something similar (among other things) a few weeks ago.

. . . Do you have to have insurance if you have a gun?

Bell even goes on to acknowledge that his idea may price the poor (who tend, incidentally, to live in the kinds of neighborhoods where self-defense is most necessary) out of the self-defense market. That, apparently, doesn’t bother him.

Not very “progressive” of him, is it?


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