Can a State Require You to Insure Your Guns?

| Tue Dec. 18, 2012 9:37 AM PST

Paul Waldman:

If you say, "I want a gun," the rest of us can say, OK, you have that right. But guns pose a potentially lethal danger, so that means we need a special set of rules to deal with them. After all, we do this already. If you want a car, you can't just get one. First, you have to prove to your state that you are competent to drive it. Then you have to register it with the government, and you have to get insurance for it. We agree to this more restrictive set of rules for cars than for televisions or refrigerators because what you do with a car affects other people. Cars are dangerous. Used improperly, they can kill people.

There's a thought. What if you could own all the guns you wanted, but you were required to insure them against any damage they might cause? Would that be constitutional?

I'm not suggesting this is even remotely possible. I'm just curious. Could a state do this if it wanted? Could Congress?

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