Can a State Require You to Insure Your Guns?

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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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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