Naughton should back guns owners insurance

REP. HAROLD NAUGHTON of Clinton, who is hosting hearings around the state on gun control issues with the goal of proposing legislation later this year, is focused on the tail of the elephant rather than its head.

Gun violence in our country and in Massachusetts is costly. It is especially costly and sad to those individuals and families who have been directly or indirectly injured by guns. The Second Amendment is not the issue. What should be the issue is the cost of the violence caused by guns. 

Many of us have cars. Most states, including Massachusetts, require anyone operating a car or any other type of vehicle to take a test and a driving exam and purchase insurance protecting themselves and anyone else they might hurt in an accident. Without insurance, one cannot legally drive a car.

Gun owners face no similar requirement. A recent newspaper article reported that a young male was “accidentally shot” and paralyzed from the neck down. For the remainder of his life, he will require assistance of one sort or other and the cost to the health system will be $200,000 a year for his entire life. Would the American Automobile Association, GM, or Ford suggest that we have a “right” to buy and operate a vehicle without also purchasing insurance to protect folks who might be accidentally injured?

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Rep. Naughton should state – if he has the courage to do so – that gun owners must purchase insurance similar to what car owners buy. The insurance should provide coverage for any accident or injury caused by the legal as well as the illegal use of the weapon. Why should the citizens of Massachusetts pay for mayhem caused by guns and bullets?

Paul Kelley is a resident of Somerville.