Gun owners would have to buy liability insurance to own a gun under a bill introduced recently by a New York City legislator, a proposal one gun owners group is calling an attempt to ban guns.
The bill has gotten little fanfare in light of the passage last month of the state’s Safe Act gun control legislation.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn.
“This insurance policy will serve as an incentive for firearm owners to implement safety measures in order to conduct the activity as safely as possible and only when necessary,” the bill reads.
The proposal has been introduced in the state Assembly but was without a Senate sponsor as of mid-February. It would require all gun owners in New York to buy a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance, insurance that one expert said would be difficult if not impossible to get and would likely be very expensive if available.
Gun owners who don’t have insurance would see their firearms confiscated under the proposed law.
“Its another outright attempt to ban firearms,” said Tom King, executive director of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. “Everybody’s talking about this one.”
In the past, gun owners could rely on the state Senate to defeat restrictive gun bills, but that is no longer the case, King said.
Stephen Aldstadt, director of Shooters Committee on Political Education-New York, said the bill was “definitely something to be concerned about.”
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He said federal legislators had unsuccessfully attempted to enact a similar law in the past.
He said he doesn’t think the bill will make it into law, however.
“I don’t think it has a legitimate chance,” Aldstadt said.
King, who works in the insurance industry, said finding insurance written specifically for guns would be almost impossible.
Mike Grasso, an executive with Cool Insurance in Queensbury and a gun owner, said homeowner’s insurance policies would generally cover any accidents involving firearms. But any willful or illegal conduct with a gun would generally not be covered by any insurance policy, he said.
“A willful act would not allow an injured person to recover insurance monies, except for a child using the gun when it is determined there was no intent, it was just an accident,” Grasso said. “Currently, if you accidently shoot someone it is covered by your policy because you did not do it intentionally.”
Grasso called the bill “another registration scheme.”
The bill is A3908. It was referred to the Assembly’s Insurance Committee and no vote had been scheduled.