FIREARM LIABILITY

The United States currently has a population of 307 million people. Based on production data secured from the major domestic firearm manufacturers, there were roughly 300 million firearms owned by Americans as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million were classified as handguns.

 

A recent Gallup poll indicates that personal safety is the most common reason given for owning a firearm. But what happens if a law-abiding citizen is actually forced to use a gun to protect his/her self, a loved one, or their personal property? There will be an investigation – and potentially a criminal trial. Even a not guilty verdict will provide no guarantee that the “victim” or his/her family members won’t sue in civil court.

 

Many homeowner policies specifically exclude firearm use – even in self defense – as a covered exposure, deeming it to be an intentional act. That leaves the gun owner personally liable for legal expenses, bail bond costs, and any judgments awarded through a civil action.

 

Recent events – such as the widely publicized shootings in California and Colorado – have exacerbated the situation even more. Law makers are considering a mandate that gun owners carry liability insurance. One proposed piece of legislation, known as the Firearms Risk Protection Act of 2013 (HR 1369), requires individuals to provide proof of coverage as a condition of purchasing a gun. Weapon sellers would be assessed a fine of up to $10,000 for failure to verify that the purchaser maintained the proper insurance. State-level legislative bodies are also considering similar laws.

 

Rockwood Programs has collaborated with Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London to develop a product specifically designed to address firearm liability exposures. A variety of limit options are available to address your client’s specific needs.