Sen. Skinner Introduces New Bill Requiring Gun Owners to Have Insurance

June 16, 2022

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, today introduced new legislation that would require gun owners to obtain liability insurance for the negligent or accidental use of their firearms. If enacted, SB 505 would make California the first state in the nation to adopt such legislation.

“Guns kill more people than cars. Yet gun owners are not required to carry liability insurance like car owners must,” Sen. Skinner said. “Why should taxpayers, survivors, families, employers, and communities bear the $280 billion annual cost of gun violence? It’s time for gun owners to shoulder their fair share.”

Sen. Skinner’s new gun insurance legislation comes in response to recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The bill is being amended into SB 505, legislation that had been authored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, on a different topic.

Earlier this year, the city of San Jose became the first city in California to pass a law requiring gun owners to obtain liability insurance. Sen. Skinner’s legislation is also based in part on a bill proposed in 2013 by Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. The state of New York is also considering gun insurance legislation.

Since 2013, gun deaths have soared 83% nationwide. According to a recent study, gun deaths now outnumber motor vehicle fatalities in 34 states. In addition, guns now kill more children and teens in the U.S. than auto crashes.

Data show that gun safety measures like SB 505 work. California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, and since 2005, gun deaths have declined in our state by 10%. By contrast, Texas and Florida have some of the weakest gun laws in the nation, and their gun deaths have shot up 28% and 37%, respectively, during the same period. Polls and surveys also show that more than 80% of Americans support tougher gun safety legislation.

Under SB 505, gun insurance in California would be similar to car insurance. Gun owners would:

  • Be held civilly liable for property damage, injury, or death resulting from the use of their firearms
  • Have to obtain liability insurance that covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm, including property, damage, injury or death
  • Have to obtain proof of gun insurance, keep that proof with their firearm, and produce it when asked by a peace officer during the course of a lawful detainment.

 

Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District, is chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.