Government / Township News

Boykin Proposal Would Require Liability Insurance For Guns

Boykin VFPTuesday, January 19, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), at a Jan. 13 Cook County board meeting, proposed an ordinance that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance coverage in order to purchase firearms. Fines for those who violate the proposed ordinance range between $2,500 and $5,000.

“The reason we introduced this is because we’re trying to do everything we can to have a major impact on gun violence,” Boykin said in a recent interview. “This horrific gun violence is destroying our community. Last year in Chicago, 488 people were killed and 2,986 were shot. This year alone, 140 people have been shot, and 25 people killed. So, I’m going to try to do everything I can.”

Boykin said his county level proposal has some resonance in Washington, D.C. with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) having introduced a similar regulation; however, he conceded that Maloney’s proposal likely won’t gain any traction.

“I don’t think anything will happen in Washington because of the Republican Congress, but Cook County can pass it. We’ve got a Democratic board,” said Boykin, before touting the passage of previous gun control-related ordinances he introduced, such as an ammunition tax.

That measure, Boykin said, could bring in an estimated $250,000 in revenue during its first full year of implementation and about $500,000 each year afterward. The ammunition tax takes effect this June.

“The purchase of every firearm in Cook County should be like a car,” Boykin said. “For the first time in 60 years, deaths from guns have eclipsed auto accidents. We’ve made cars safer, but we’ve done nothing to make guns safer. You can’t purchase a car without having liability insurance. Why should you be able to do so when you buy a gun?”

Boykin said he received significant pushback from the National Rifle Association when he introduced the ammunition tax and anticipates a similar reaction from various pro-gun organizations.

Richard Pearson, the president of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said his organization will lobby against Boykin’s liability insurance proposal, but anticipates that it may pass the board, anyway.

“We’ll mobilize, but it’s rare that we’re able to stop such an ordinance [in Democratic Cook County],” he said, adding that he believes the law is impractical and misplaced.

“I don’t know any company that would offer that kind of insurance,” said Pearson. “There’s homeowners’ insurance or umbrella policies, but what they’re looking for [liability insurance for gun owners] isn’t available.”

“What they’re really doing is they want someone to cover all these gang shootings and the last time I looked, gangs didn’t carry insurance,” he said. “They don’t attack gangs with this legislation, they attack law-abiding gun owners. The problem is that Cook County doesn’t prosecute the people who own guns illegally. Most of them are able to plea-bargain their gun charges away. They let the suspects go and they don’t really prosecute those people who really commit gun crimes.”

“I think we have to try everything we can,” Boykin said. “I am not going to stop trying just because somebody might say this isn’t going to have an impact. I believe it will.” VFP

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2 thoughts on “Boykin Proposal Would Require Liability Insurance For Guns

  1. So let me get this straight–this is going to stop gang bangers from shooting people up? Really?? Just like passing ordinances to limit what types of guns people have?
    And where is one going to get liability insurance for a gun, and who is that supposed to benefit in the long run?
    I used to like Boykin, but he is starting to do a lot of grandstanding that is only going to affect people that are doing things legally. Start focusing on the gangs, they are the ones making all the problems

  2. So basically what Mr Boykin is proposing is that law-abiding, registered gun owners accept an additional financial burden for their legal gun ownership while those who are not law-abiding can continue their gun ownership without incurring any additional burden for their illegal activity?

    Sure let’s penalize only the people who are being good citizens.

    I’m on neither side of the gun control debate, but you can sure bank on me being on board with the ANTI-STUPID lobby! Oh brother. Where do these “spend and tax” politicians come up with this stuff? Uh, maybe, from their wealthy buddies in the insurance lobby?

    Thanks for the data on gun violence, Mr. Boykin. Now show me the data which identifies law-abiding gun owners to be the principal risk to public safety. How much of a liability are they on public safety compared to illegal gun owners that they would be required to carry insurance when the most dangerous people in society need not worry about it?

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