Should California Gunowners be Licensed and Insured?

Last weekend’s shooting in Arizona continues to weigh heavily on the minds of so many Americans.  Since a Republican dominated House and a nearly divided Senate appear unlikely to reinstate the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, perhaps it’s time for the State of California to step in.  Now any proposal to pass tougher gun  laws is going to raise the ire of gunowners and the NRA. 

Currently, it’s pretty easy to own a gun in California.  All firearms sales (which includes private and gun show sales), transfers, or loans, all have to go through a California licensed firearms dealer. Any application for sale or transfer must be made with a licensed California gun dealer before any firearm may be sold or transferred.  But you don'[t need a permit, a license or a registratrion to own a shotgun.  No license ot permit is needed for a handgun, although these weapons are registered.

The purchaser must present the dealer with a valid California Driver’s License or a California I.D. Card and supply their thumbprint. The purchaser of a handgun must also provide additional proof of California residence. The dealer sends a copy of the application to the state’s Dept. of Justice and the local police chief.  The CA DOJ is supposed to conduct a background check on each buyer at a fee andit takes 10-days for a waiting period before delivery of any firearm. Dealers must keep a register of all firearm transfers. 

The state is in need of new forms of revenue.  Why not have the state require all gun owners to be licensed? On top of that, perhaps allguns should carry insurance likes cars, motorcycles and boats do.  We have earthquake, fire and flood insurance in California.  Why not insurance for your firearm?  If someone steals your weapon, and it’s used in the commission of a crime, insurance can be there to bail you out of possible litigation.  If you’re a duck hunter using a simple shotgun or have a small handgun for “personal protrection,” you’re license and insurance rates are low.  If you want a Glock with a large magazine, your license and insurance are pretty costly.

Revenues collected by the state could go to cities for law enforcement, or to prisons, or parks.

No one said anything about taking away guns.  We are talking about licensing and insuring them in the same way we do our homes, cars, and boats.  It won’t be a financial burden to sportsman who hunt but for those who want assault weapons, it’ll cost you.  The licensing and insurance will identify those individuals who have assault weapons while providing new streams of revenue for the state.  If the insurance and license is too much, a gun owner could either turn their weapon in to local law enforcement or get rid of the weapon altogether.  If there are fewer guns on the street, perhaps crime will go down too.

Now nowhere in these ideas is anyone suggestion this move abridges anyone’s second amendment rights.  We’re not talking about banning anything, just requiring that guns are licensed, registered and insured.  Like when you buy at car lorf truck.  As long as I have to swipe my license to buy cold medicine at my local pharamacy, why not a little more control over the way weapons are sold in this state.  Since we’re at it, I’d like to see a massive tax on bullets too, but calling for a tax on that isn;t a vote getter, is it?

  23 comments for “Should California Gunowners be Licensed and Insured?

  1. January 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm


    You misspoke about some important facts. Shotguns are registered, just like rifles. You also failed to mention that you need a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) issued by the California Department of Justice.

    The second amendment is a right. Owning a Car, Tuck or Boat is a privileged. Please don’t mix the two.

    Hi Chris! LOL

    • January 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Nothing I suggested infringes on the right to own a weapon. I am calling for all firearms to be licensed to people and insured.

      • kepdapeace
        January 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

        Do you need to be insured to vote?

  2. Grant Henninger
    January 16, 2011 at 8:03 am

    You’ve got a few things wrong in this post. First, you do need a license to buy a handgun in California. It’s called a Handgun Safety Certificate. Secondly, large capacity magazines like were used in the Arizona shooting are already banned in California. In California, the largest magazine you can buy, sell or make is 10 rounds, not 31. Third, “assault weapons” are banned in California. You can’t have a center fired rifle that has a removable magazine and a pistol grip, which is what most people think of when they think of an “assault rifle”.

    Finally, I like how you use a diagram of a gun that was never in production and that you can’t legally own in California. I guess you thought this picture would scare people into agreeing with you.

    • January 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Grant — that document isn’t a license, and the fee is likely lower than it could be. I’m talking about a license and insurance for every gun.

      The image was selected at random. No conspiracy here.

      • Grant Henninger
        January 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

        Dan, have you ever taken the Handgun Safety Certificate test? If the Handgun Safety Certificate was something you got with just paying a fee, there would be no test involved. But there is a test with questions regarding the safe handling of firearms. It’s not a hard test, but to keep and use firearms safely is not hard either.

        You liken putting fees and insurance on guns to what we do with cars. As somebody else pointed out, driving is a privilege and gun ownership is a right. If we’re going to start putting fees on activities that people have a right to do, why don’t we start charging a fee to vote? I mean, it costs the state and counties quite a bit of money to hold elections, those participating in them should be helping to offset that cost with a small fee, right?

        • Dan Chmielewski
          January 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

          I have taken and passed a rifle safety course and, when I lived in New York, had the documentation required to legally hunt the one time I did with my father and brothers.

          Gun ownership is certainly a right. But if you want an assault weapon, a Glock, or another weapon designed with the main purpose of killing people, I think government (with the feedback of the law enforcement community and the military) should be able to [place soem requirements on the right of an individual to carry a Glock. The Arizona shooter had a right to carry that weapon and look how much taxpayers are paying for it? He gets three hots and a cot for the next several years, free legal services, and let’s not forget the health services being provided by the Congresswoman who was shot. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will we taxpayers spend on the investigation?

          Perhaps if there was a significant license fee and expensive insurance, he would have settled for a smaller caliber pistol instead and 18 other people might not have been shot that day.

          It’s funny you should mention the cost of elections; we used to have a poll tax in this country. It was designed to disinfranchise African American voters after the Civil War and it had a chilling affect on voter participation.

          Again, this idea does not infringe on a person’s right to own a firearm. We have free speech in this country, but try emailing a threat of physical violence to and see what happens. Yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Or accuse someone of a crime they didn’t commit. There are penalities for violating the principles of free speech but using said free speech irresponsibly. This gun license/insurance proposal perhaps could set limits on the types of weapons that become popular without restricting anyone’s second amendment rights.

          • Grant Henninger
            January 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

            So what you’re saying is that mandating fees on people trying to exercise their rights has a “chilling affect [sic]” on people actually doing so? Could that possibly be the real reason you are advocating for such laws to be used against gun owners?

            I do find it interesting that you keep using the name “Glock” as a pejorative. A Glock 19, like what was used in the Arizona shooting, uses a 9mm cartridge, which is the smallest of the standard handgun cartridges. Glock 19s are really quite small guns that don’t have a lot of power compared to other popular handguns.

            It’s fairly clear to me that you don’t really know much about handguns. I invite you out to one of the local ranges. I’ll show you a bit about the different guns that are available in California so the next time you write about gun control you can do so from an informed position. I have a feeling we would agree on most policy issues, after all, I am a Democrat like you. I just differ from the party on this issue.

            • kepdapeace
              January 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

              Do we forget that Gabby is an avid handgunner and owns a Glock? Limiting my choice of firearms, btw, is a bit socialist to my way of thinking.

  3. Cook
    January 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    If anyone of those people at the market where this shooting occurred was able to “bare arms” as is their US right.

    The congress woman would have still been shot first, but the shooter would have been shot second.

    That would save lives and injuries and the very expensive court case and lifetime upkeep of a mad dog.

    • Steve
      January 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      People there already have the right to own guns…what are you talking about?

      As for your alternate scenario, it’s so idealized as to be laughable. As Mr. Benson hints below, if those people were all armed, the shooter may have been shot, yes. But in the fog of the moment, confusion would VERY likely enter in and then the identity of the original shooter would become less obvious. Under that far more likely scenario, more innocent people could get hurt.

      But yes, lets have everyone walking around with a gun…after all, mistakes and accidents with guns NEVER happen.

  4. Jim Benson
    January 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Actually the person who took down the shooter was also armed. He did not pull his weapon, why?

    He could have been mistaken as a second shooter and been shot by law enforsement when they showed up.

    It would have been irreasponsible to start shooting another weapon into a crowd of people who were likely running for cover. How would you avoid hitting another innocent person?

    So a responsible gun owner who was carring would not have attempted to bring down the shooter under the conditions that likely existed at the scene. Niether would have a well trained law enforcement officer.

    Having more armed persons would have made no difference in this case.

    That said I think that current California law is just fine the way it is in regards to guns. The shooter would not have been able to legally aquire the weapon he possessed in California.

    • January 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Actually, the Guy who was armed did not “take down the shooter. He came up on the scene after the shooter had been taken down by unarmed individuals.

      • Keep da Peace
        January 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm

        Well, Crhis, as pointed out on the other hit piece, the shooter in question almost shot the other person who actually did take down the shooter and was an armed CCW. That’s why he almost shot him, is because he was armed. Fortunately, using good sense, he did not even draw his weapon as it turns out. It’s just that CNN and MSNBC got ahold of the guy and were able to solicit an interview.

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    January 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

    This isn’t a post about the right to own a gun. It’s about assigning fees and insurance to certain types of weapons. I’d love to have a restored 57 chevy, but I can’t afford it or the insurance, so I drive a different vehicle. If you want a Glock, you can have one. But it carries a hefty annual license and you’re required to pay for insurance in case your weapon is stolen or you shoot an innoucent bystander while exercising your second amendment right. Different cars carry different insurance rates based on the person buying the insurance or driving the vehicle. Let’s apply this to firearms.

  6. January 18, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Other than the fact that you grossly misrepresent the facts on all accounts with the display of a weapon that is not available or legal in California, I will reserve my other comments for the second hit piece you chose to do on the Second Amendment.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      January 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

      As I said, the image was something I found on Google just looking for images of “assault weapons” Don’t read anything into the selection of the image

      • Keep da Peace
        January 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm

        Well, Dan, how responsible is that? If you want to put forward a good argument, at least be accurate about it.

      • Grant Henninger
        January 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

        Dan, why did you search for “assault weapons”? What “assault weapons” are legal in California? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to look for “Glock” or “handgun”, since that was the weapon that was used in the Arizona shooting and what your proposed licensing and insurance requirements are on?

  7. January 19, 2011 at 11:05 am

    The following assault weapons are illegal to purchase in California.

    1) All AK series including, but not limited to, the models identified as follows:
    (A) Made in China AK, AKM, AKS, AK47, AK47S, 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
    (B) Norinco 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
    (C) Poly Technologies AKS and AK47.
    (D) MAADI AK47 and ARM.
    (2) UZI and Galil.
    (3) Beretta AR-70.
    (4) CETME Sporter.
    (5) Colt AR-15 series.
    (6) Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100, and AR110 C.
    (7) Fabrique Nationale FAL, LAR, FNC, 308 Match, and Sporter.
    (8) MAS 223.
    (9) HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, and HK-PSG-1
    (10) The following MAC types:
    (A) RPB Industries Inc. sM10 and sM11.
    (B) SWD Incorporated M11.
    (11) SKS with detachable magazine.
    (12) SIG AMT, PE-57, SG 550, and SG 551.
    (13) Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48.
    (14) Sterling MK-6.
    (15) Steyer AUG.
    (16) Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78S.
    (17) Armalite AR-180.
    (18) Bushmaster Assault Rifle.
    (19) Calico M-900.
    (20) J&R ENG M-68.
    (21) Weaver Arms Nighthawk.
    (b) All of the following specified pistols:
    (1) UZI.
    (2) Encom MP-9 and MP-45.
    (3) The following MAC types:
    (A) RPB Industries Inc. sM10 and sM11.
    (B) SWD Incorporated M-11.
    (C) Advance Armament Inc. M-11.
    (D) Military Armament Corp. Ingram M-11.
    (4) Intratec TEC-9.
    (5) Sites Spectre.
    (6) Sterling MK-7.
    (7) Calico M-950.
    (8) Bushmaster Pistol.
    (c) All of the following specified shotguns:
    (1) Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12.
    (2) Striker 12.
    (3) The Streetsweeper type S/S Inc. SS/12.
    (d) Any firearm declared by the court pursuant to Section 12276.5 to be an assault weapon that is specified as an assault weapon in a list promulgated pursuant to Section 12276.5.
    (e) The term “series” includes all other models that are only variations, with minor differences, of those models listed in subdivision (a), regardless of the manufacturer

    Many argue a Glock should be considered an assault weapon.

    Here’s a list of legal guns for purchase in California:

    • Grant Henninger
      January 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Who argues that a Glock should be considered an assault weapon? What is different about a Glock than any other handgun? It sounds like you’re saying that all handguns should be illegal.

  8. cook
    January 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Didn’t the US Supreme Court toss all or most anti-gun laws last year?

    “”WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court held Monday that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live, expanding the conservative court’s embrace of gun rights since John Roberts became chief justice. “” (updated 6/28/2010)

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