In a first of its kind ruling, a jury in Milwaukee found a pawn shop with a history of minimal adherence to, if not open disregard for, gun laws liable for the death and severe wounding of two men to the tune of $6 million. Unless it's a pawn shop owned by a shipping magnate the suit, which will obviously be appealed, effectively puts the place out of business. Congress recently passed a ridiculously unconstitutional law shielding gun sellers from liability suits so the verdict came as something of a surprise.
Did I mention the two guys were cops? Yeah I guess that's important. See, when a cop dies the justice system swings into action like Thor's hammer. They matter, and the people who do them harm must be punished quickly and decisively. When people who don't matter, like black men or kindergarteners or your friends and family, are shot it's really just a tough situation in which everyone's terribly sad about what happened but really what can you do? You can't do anything except maybe have more people carrying more guns until everyone feels safe or we've all shot each other, whichever comes first.
Given the disinclination of Congress and state legislatures to touch the issue with a 10-foot pole, requiring liability insurance for guns (as every state does for cars) may be one of the few feasible tools available to curb gun violence. Everybody knows that half-assed adherence to existing firearm laws is a problem – off-book sales at gun shows and online are remarkably common – but the problem appears insolvable. By requiring whoever is the owner of record (presumably from the most recent legal sale of the gun) to have liability insurance the number of under the table sales would plummet quickly. Nonetheless, I'm sure that as usual we will decide that since there is some conceivable way to get around an insurance requirement that is definitive proof that we shouldn't bother passing one. You know. Typical NRA logic.