A good friend told me recently he bought four guns as insurance against a violent society. I didn’t bother to note that he lives in a particularly low crime city.

There was one murder in his town between 2006 and 2019 (the latest information on City-Data.com). There were 26 reported rapes and 17 robberies in those 13 years. The crime index for his city in 2019 was 76.2 or 28% of the 270.6 U.S. average.

So why is this intelligent, rational Conservative buying guns for “insurance?” He knows there are unstable elements in our society, whipped up by politicians who feed a minority of gun-bearing crackpots and a media selling terror for profits.

He knows a disgruntled person of any age can acquire an automatic rifle and kill a dozen or more innocent people anywhere in the U.S. in a matter of seconds.

My friend and I agree there is little hope elected officials in this country would take even simple steps to reduce the violence and its threats to domestic tranquility.

Domestic tranquility. Remember that phrase? It appears in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution and is violated routinely by dishonorable members of the Congress and the Indiana General Assembly.

There is a missing voice in the discussions designed to limit the American plague of violence. Where are the responsible gun owners? Why aren’t they leading the protests seeking responsible legislation?

Consider this: We license automobiles and their owners. We require auto owners to carry liability insurance. Let’s now license guns, their owners, and require liability insurance for those owners.

Licensing and insurance don’t deny citizens the right to own and use autos. They do not guarantee responsible behavior. Cars do get stolen but do come equipped with safety devices and anti-theft features.

If a gun is stolen or sold, the initial owner should be liable for the harm done by that gun until that theft or sale is reported to the authorities. As we stand today, gun owners deny responsibility when their guns are stolen or misused by a child.

If your grandchild kills or harms someone with your gun, you should be responsible and liable. If you “lend” a gun to your nephew, and he kills someone, you should be responsible and liable.

Since, you must show proof of insurance, you will be more careful with your gun, less careless with its storage and less trusting of your family members and neighbors.

It’s not difficult to put licensing and insurance rules into the law. We have done it before. We can reverse the deluge of blood by restoring sanity to our laws.

But it will not happen unless gun owners themselves stand forward and demand a set of licensing and insurance rules It’s time for gunowners to be what they claim to be: responsible citizens.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His column appears in Indiana newspapers, and his views can be followed his podcast.

© 2022 Morton J. Marcus