Dem-Backed Bill Would Force Gun Owners To Buy ‘Liability’ Insurance In Washington State

Legislation pending in the Washington state legislature would force gun owners to purchase insurance.

Democratic State Sens. Patty Kuderer and Javier Valdez of Washington introduced SB5963, which would force insurance companies to ask prospective customers if they own firearms, and to then advise them of the state requirement to own liability insurance, according to the text of the legislation. The legislation did not specify any penalties for those who do not have insurance, nor does it require any specific level of coverage.

“By setting this requirement, Washington attempts to reduce the risk and subsequent cost of hardships of gun accidents,” Kuderer claimed during testimony on the legislation at a Monday hearing of the Washington State Senate Law and Justice Committee, according to local newspaper The Olympian. “This bill achieves these goals and reallocates costs without compromising any Second Amendment rights. This is true because this requirement does not regulate, limit or control the manner or method in which people may keep or bear arms. Instead, it simply says you must have liability insurance.”

Kuderer claimed during her remarks that deaths and injuries from firearms cost Washington state $169 million a year during her remarks, saying the bill “provides financial incentive for responsible arms carrying.”

A similar proposal was passed by the city of San Jose, California in 2022, while Los Angeles County enacted a similar requirement in February 2023 after a mass shooting. Democrats in the United States House of Representatives proposed a similar bill in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, but it did not become law.

Yakima County Commissioner Amanda McKinney ripped the legislation, calling it an attack on Second Amendment rights.

“This is yet one more way that Olympia has seen fit to put a cost at simply existing,” McKinney told The Olympian. “And in this case, putting a cost to exercise their constitutional right to simply protect themselves.”

The legislation is scheduled for a vote Tuesday. If passed, the full Washington state House of Representatives will take the bill up for consideration, according to The Olympian.

“The NRA strongly opposes Senate Bill 5963, misguided legislation that unfairly burdens law-abiding gun owners with unnecessary insurance mandates,” NRA Washington Director Aoibheann Cline told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This bill not only infringes on Second Amendment rights but also exacerbates housing affordability issues, potentially making home ownership unattainable for many.”

SB 5963 fails to address crime and broadly impacts all gun owners, including those ineligible for the required policies. It’s an intrusive measure that risks increasing insurance costs and disproportionately affects low and middle-class gun owners,” Cline added. “The NRA stands with gun owners in rejecting this bill and urges strong opposition to protect our constitutional rights.”

Kuderer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.




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