YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Assembly member Steve Katz (R, C, I – Yorktown) spoke out Wednesday against a proposed bill that would require all New York gun owners to obtain and “continuously maintain” insurance coverage of at least $1 million.
Bill A03908 was introduced Jan. 29 by Assembly member Felix Ortiz (D – Brooklyn). If passed, gun owners would have 30 days to purchase the insurance or be subject to "immediate revocation of such owner's registration, license and any other privilege to own" a firearm. Following passage, anybody interested in purchasing a firearm would have to secure the insurance beforehand.
Katz said the hefty insurance is not realistically affordable for many gun owners, and called the bill an attempt to “abolish” the Second Amendment.
"This law specifically targets law-abiding citizens and severely restricts those who could not afford this preposterous policy," Katz said Wednesday. "This again turns a blind eye to the fact that illegal gun violence is the main problem our state faces. We cannot allow this attempt to abolish the Second Amendment to take place."
If a citizen fails to obtain the insurance, owning a firearm would be a violation of the law. The bill was introduced as an amendment to the current New York State Insurance Law.
The bill states "any person in this state who shall own a firearm shall, prior to such ownership, obtain and continuously maintain a policy of liability insurance in an amount not less than one million dollars specifically covering any damages resulting from any negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person.”
If the gun is lost or stolen, it must be reported to the police. If a crime is committed by the gun before its loss or theft is reported to the police, the previous owner is liable, according to the bill.
According to an FBI report, there were 445 firearm murders in New York in 2011 and 517 firearm murders in 2010. However, Ortiz said, there is little attention focused on the economic impact these shootings have on the victims and their families.
"By having this insurance policy in place, innocent victims of gun-related accidents and violence will be compensated for the medical care for their injuries," said a memo accompanying the bill. "This insurance policy will also 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."
If passed, the law would take effect 19 days after being signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.