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EDITORIAL: Gun ownership comes under fire

Gun control advocates, in their never-ending quest to take firearms from those who are licensed and trained to legally carry them, are trying to advance a bill in the House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. But the bill itself stomps on constitutional rights, and Rep. Maloney’s arguments for it can be shot so full of holes that the legislation would look like a target at a shooting range.

As reported by The Hill’s Lydia Wheeler, the Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled May 29, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it. Service members and law enforcement officers would be exempt from the requirement.

Said Rep. Maloney in a statement: “We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns. The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise.” That was just one in a stream of illogical statements in support of her legislation, but it was more than enough for National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke to prove the bill is fatally flawed. Mr. Cooke notes that homicides and injuries caused by firearms have been dramatically cut over the past two decades, as laws have been loosened to bring many more firearms into circulation. Further, he pointed out that the federal government plays no role in requiring people to buy car insurance; one is not required to own insurance to own a car, but rather only to operate the car on public streets; and most important in the cars-guns comparison, there is no constitutional right to own a car — but there is one securing an individual’s right to own firearms.

That last point is perhaps the most important, as it is arguably the one most infringed upon by this legislation. Forcing gun owners to have insurance in order to take advantage of their Second Amendment rights disproportionately affects the poor and at-risk, who have as much a right to self-defense — and arguably more need for it, in many neighborhoods — than those who could afford the insurance mandate. The bill might as well state, as Georgia College adjunct English professor Eddie Zipperer wrote for The Hill, “that only rich folks can own guns.”

To be sure, that is not what Second Amendment authors had in mind. Rather, there should be more legislation that protects the rights of responsible gun owners. Nevada smartly took steps in that direction in the just-completed legislative session by passing Assembly Bill 127 to do away with blue cards, Clark County’s gun registration requirement dating to 1948. Even new Sheriff Joe Lombardo backed repealing the expensive mandate. The new law reserves the right to regulate firearms to the Legislature.

Rep. Maloney and the rest of the gun control lobby need to stop wasting taxpayer money looking for ways to undo the Second Amendment. In particular, they need to halt the egregious trampling of the rights of those who can least afford it. Nevada’s congressional delegation needs to shoot down this bill.

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