In the wake of another mass shooting, this time at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were gunned down on Tuesday, Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk shared his thoughts on gun control.
The Idea: “What is a reasonable way to make it harder for people with homicidal impulses to obtain body count maximizing weapons?” he asked on Twitter Inc TWTR.
Musk suggested a licensing standard, where those hoping to purchase semi-automatic rifles would be required to present a driver’s license to show they are at least 21 years of age, as well as provide evidence of having no criminal history.
Musk also suggested gun owners be required to purchase insurance.
“Maybe just require homicide insurance for a gun purchase? Minimum car insurance, which is basically homicide insurance, is required for car ownership,” he said. After considering his proposition for a couple of hours he followed up with, “I think this would actually work.”
The Implications: Although unlikely to ever happen, the idea is interesting because of its implications. If a person was required to secure homicide insurance prior to purchasing a gun, firearms would end up in far fewer hands due to the strict background checks underwriters of insurance companies would need to complete.
If insurance companies, such as MetLife Inc MET or Allstate Corp ALL, were required to pay the medical bills of injured victims of gun violence or to compensate the families of murdered victims, the cost to obtain this type of insurance would also likely be high. So high, potentially, that many would be unable to afford it, which could remove the sheer number of guns from areas where socioeconomic factors make gun violence more prevalent.
Of course, giving control of who can and can’t access their Second Amendment rights to insurance companies would undoubtedly cause a myriad of issues including discrimination and as per Musk’s proposal and his comparison to auto insurance, owning a gun is a constitutional right whereas owning a vehicle is a privilege.
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