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Ald. Pawar Calls For Gun Insurance

By Patty Wetli | February 27, 2013 12:20pm
 Ald. Ameya Pawar has proposed gun insurance as a way to curb Chicago's violence.
Ald. Ameya Pawar has proposed gun insurance as a way to curb Chicago's violence.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

LINCOLN SQUARE — Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) has a proposal for curbing Chicago's recent spate of shootings and murders: require liability insurance as a precondition to owning a gun.

In an opinion piece published in the Chicago Tribune, Pawar makes a case for curtailing straw purchases — guns bought legally, then sold to criminals — by passing gun liability legislation.

The alderman stated: "With an insurance requirement, straw purchasers would have to present proof of insurance for every gun they buy and assume a cost to insure the guns. For straw purchasers who supply dozens of guns a month to gang members, insurance may severely inhibit their illegal gun running."

In the editorial, Pawar acknowledged that insurance requirements would apply to legitimate gun owners as well, but argued that costs would be much lower for responsible buyers, much in the way that safe drivers pay lower premiums.

He concluded: "Requiring insurance is not a slippery slope to erode constitutional rights. It is part of an uphill battle to save lives and protect the Second Amendment."

Lawmakers in at least a half dozen states are considering legislation that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance, the New York Times reported this month.

Some gun owner groups oppose such mandatory insurance, arguing that citizens should not have to buy policies in order to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. Some companies already offer such policies, costing $200 to $300 per year, the Times reported.

But some groups representing gun owners oppose efforts to make insurance mandatory, arguing that law-abiding people should not be forced to buy insurance to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.

Pawar, 32, was elected to the City Council in 2011. Previously, he was a Northwestern University staffer in the Office of Emergency Management.