American has debated gun control for decades and it is now further away from a political solution than ever before. With mass shootings averaging one a week so far this 2018, gun control proponents have been loud and vocal. Gun advocates cling to their interpretation of a 250-year old constitution whose framers could never have conceived of the carnage an AR-15 could inflict.
Now comes a suggestion inspired by 20th century economist Authur Pigou: require all would-be gun owners to purchase insurance for their firearms, just like car owners.
Jason Pontin makes the case in Wired:
States should require gun owners to be licensed and pay insurance, just as car owners must be licensed and insured today. Blue America would abandon its claims that guns and their markets should be legally restricted, except for restrictions that compel very broad consent (such as requiring background checks on all gun purchases). Almost anyone could own almost any gun or combination of guns. In exchange, Red America would agree that gun owners should pay a fair share of the aggregate cost of their choices. The compromise would ask gun owners to be more responsible while respecting their rights to own guns. It would satisfy those who want fewer guns, because truly capturing the cost of ownership would reduce demand. Insurers would benefit from new customers, and victims or their families could be partly compensated for their suffering.
Like car insurance today, premiums will differ based on risk. With AI-driven data analysis, imposing an insurance premium on gun ownership will no longer a blunt instrument. People with no criminal record, a gun safe at their home, and possessing a firearm that is biometrically connected (meaning that only the owner of record will be able to fire it) will get to pay a much lower premium on their gun insurance. Conversely, people who buy lots of guns and assault rifles, have an open carry permit, and have a police record will be charged higher premiums.
AI-driven analytics will sift through the actuarial tables bringing in every possible criteria: age, employment status, residence, etc. to further refine their schedule of premiums. And the check-ups will not stop there as insurance firms will see great profit in keeping close tabs on their customers.
Insurance companies can now tap into the mountains data that will be made available through social media use and sensors from the Internet of Things (IoTs) in order to price their insurance premiums dynamically. Gun owners who make threats on social media or display anti-social behavior might also see their premiums rise. Algorithms devised by the insurance companies and their AI-driven machine learning systems will soon have this down to a science. Gun owners who are most like to use their guns irresponsibly will stick out like sore thumbs to be checked up on by authorities.