Proposed bill would require all gunowners to purchase liability insurance, but how much of a chance does it really have?

Attention all sportsmen and firearms owners. Felix W. Ortiz, Democrat from Assembly District 51, is the Assistant Speaker of the NYS Assembly. 

He is also an ambitious politician who suffers from an urbanized mind-set and an absolute hatred for all guns and gun owners. Actually there are quite a few politicians in the NYC area with that same attitude.

But Ortiz has the distinction of being really creative when it comes to back door gun control efforts. He has submitted a proposed bill in the Assembly that would, in essence, either drive gun owners out of this state or cause them to pay a lot of money for the privilege of owning their completely registered firearms. And the bill has already been sent to committee.

Here is the essence of his proposed bill: AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to requiring owners of firearms to obtain liability insurance THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 2353 to read as follows: S 2353. FIREARM OWNERS INSURANCE POLICIES. 1. ANY PERSON IN THIS STATE WHO SHALL OWN A FIREARM SHALL, PRIOR TO SUCH OWNERSHIP, OBTAIN AND CONTINUOUSLY MAINTAIN A POLICY OF LIABILITY INSURANCE IN AN AMOUNT NOT LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS SPECIFICALLY COVERING ANY DAMAGES RESULTING FROM ANY NEGLIGENT ACTS INVOLVING THE USE OF SUCH FIREARM WHILE IT IS OWNED BY SUCH PERSON.

But wait. There’s more: FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SUCH INSURANCE SHALL RESULT IN THE IMMEDIATE REVOCATION OF SUCH OWNER'S REGISTRATION, LICENSE AND ANY OTHER PRIVILEGE TO OWN SUCH FIREARM. 2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A PERSON SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE THE OWNER OF A FIREARM IF SUCH FIREARM IS LOST OR STOLEN UNTIL SUCH LOSS OR THEFT IS REPORTED TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OR SHERIFF WHICH HAS JURISDICTION IN THE COUNTY, TOWN, CITY OR VILLAGE IN WHICH SUCH OWNER RESIDES. 

And finally: 3. ANY PERSON WHO OWNS A FIREARM ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION SHALL OBTAIN THE INSURANCE REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF SUCH EFFECTIVE DATE. THE DEPARTMENT IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. 

Where do I begin? Well, the obvious first step is to question the legality of this proposal in light of the U.S. Constitution, and specifically the 2nd Amendment. Would such a law pass muster? Probably not, but remember that the NY SAFE Act is also (probably) unconstitutional, but it is still with us.

There is another important factor to consider. There is currently no personal liability insurance programs offered by any insurance company that directly insure firearms owners specifically for the guns that they may own. It would have to be created by the insurance carriers before a single policy could be written. And what would those premiums be? My guess would be very expensive.

Would home inspections (searches) become mandatory, possibly by NY State Police? Would safe storage of guns become mandatory, and who would determine what constitutes “safe storage?” Would every gun owner also need to purchase an approved gun safe? 

The reality of this proposed legislation is that it is nothing more than another veiled attempt by urbanized liberals to invade our civil liberties under the cover of laws. This bill, if it becomes law, will result in a de-facto registry of all firearms and an establishment of civil liability on the mere ownership of a firearm.

All this is yet another way of making legal gun owners into criminals because any legal gun owner should not be required to pay what amounts to a tax to legally own or possess a lawful firearm. Just as the NY SAFE Act does nothing to prevent any crimes but does make criminals out of honest law-abiding citizens, this proposed legislation is nothing more than a hideous attempt to use a law to force the disarmament of honest citizens.

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Here’s some more bad news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. If that were not enough bad news, most folks do not realize that there are a number of other tick-borne diseases that are less well-known but that pose severe threats to humans.

There are currently at least 15 known tick borne diseases, and none of them are fun to come into contact with. Given the amount of time anglers, hikers, campers and hunters spend in tick-infested areas, these groups are particularly susceptible to tick encounters. And prevention from contacting any of the diseases is far better than an encounter with them.

Here are steps to reduce your chances of being bitten by a tick while fishing or hunting, spending time in the woods or, even in your own backyard. Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks or boots. Also wear a long-sleeved shirt. 

And use a repellent with DEET or permethrin. DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age, and should be used in concentrations no higher than 30 percent on older children. Permethrin is intended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear. It should not be applied directly to the skin. 

Stay on trails when walking or hiking. Avoid going through brush or edge habitat where ticks are likely to be. As outdoors people this could be difficult, depending on where you’re wanting to go, so be aware of where you’re walking. And after spending time in an area likely to have ticks, check yourself and anyone else with you as well as your pets and gear.

It seems like our outdoor world is becoming more dangerous. Let’s all be more careful out there.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Writer. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet.net.