The Weekly Reload Podcast

The Problems With Gun Insurance Mandates According to Expert RJ Lehmann

January 16th, 2023

The podcast is back after a holiday and illness break. This week, we're covering the pair of gun insurance mandates that have recently gone into effect.

R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the International Center for Law and Economics, joins us to discuss the details of New Jersey's gun-carry insurance mandate and San Jose, California's gun ownership insurance requirement.

He said the requirements, which are the first of their kind, won't accomplish the goal lawmakers have claimed. Namely, insurance companies can't provide coverage for criminal acts. That basically leaves damage caused by accidental shootings as the only real option for coverage.

And even accidental coverage is more limited than most people realize. For instance, homeowners' insurance--which San Jose now claims qualifies under its mandate--will cover accidental shootings, but only for damages done to third parties. That means any harm caused to the homeowner or family members living in the home wouldn't be covered.

Lehmann said New Jersey's requirement is even more problematic because it appears to be trying to require insurance against deliberate, and potentially criminal, acts. He said that's not something any company offers nor is it a policy lawmakers could realistically force companies to offer. It also goes directly against the state's complaints about "concealed carry insurance," which are often not actual insurance policies but lawyer co-ops or group retainer plans.

Beyond the practical problems with the mandates, Lehmann said they also face an uphill battle in the courts. He explains why founding-era surity laws are a bad analogue for these modern requirements and why they are unlikely to survive the Bruen test in the long run.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I examine the new Illinois "assault weapons" ban. And Reload Member David Rice tells us about he went from buying his first gun in 2020 to getting involved in gun-rights activism.