On Thursday, January 21, at 1:45 p.m., the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing in the Legislative Office Building Room 302 to discuss radical anti-gun legislation.
House Bill 1368, sponsored by state Representative Katherine Rogers (Merrimack-D), would require the seller, purchaser and owner of a firearm to be covered by a liability insurance policy. This misguided proposal is clearly an unconstitutional condition and is without merit or precedent in law.
Proponents of this legislation will comparatively argue that in much of the country individuals are required by law to insure their automobiles. However, mandated auto insurance is a precondition that relates to the privilege of driving on public roads, not of automobile ownership.
Many, if not most, insurers do not even provide firearm specific liability insurance coverage. In fact, many insurance companies exclude coverage for claims arising from firearm ownership.
Clearly, firearm liability insurance will have no effect on the criminal misuse of firearms; however, it will have onerous effects for law-abiding gun owners. Under mandated insurance, gun owners could be liable for any criminal act involving the insured firearm, even if it was reported lost or stolen. In addition, the unreasonable fines of up to $10,000 imposed on those who fail to purchase mandated liability insurance could be financially crippling.
Law-abiding gun owners should not have to pay to exercise their constitutional rights, and individuals lacking financial resources should not be forced to decide between defending their families and putting food on the table.
We strongly urge you to attend this hearing and voice your opposition to HB1368. If you cannot attend this meeting, please contact members of the Commerce and Consumer Committee and urge them to oppose this legislation.