How can we keep our friends and families safer whilst protecting the Second Amendment?

2nd Amendment Constitution Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 government and politics gun control injury prevention law enforcement Public health Policy society and health Uncategorized

In a prior post I had dreamed of claiming my gun which I rightfully acquired as a citizen of this great nation. Unfortunately life always just appears to get in the way of the greatest ideas and like all great ideas that fateful journey to Arkansas for my gun has still not materialized. However, for some reason I just cannot get this out of my mind and I keep tossing the different scenarios in my head.

Whilst the whole idea of having my own AR-15 does excite me greatly and gets my heart pumping; I just cannot get this queer little statistic out of my mind. Living in a home with guns increases a person’s risk of death from guns by 40 to 170% and the risk of suicide by 90 to 460%. The kicker that I have not yet mentioned is that most of those killed by these guns are usually the family members and friends of the gun owner. No matter which way I look at these numbers it is very difficult for me to clearly tell myself that getting a gun is a great idea, much more sell this to my wife.

I am still having numerous sleepless nights trying to come up with a solution to this conundrum. How can I get a gun whilst still reducing the chances of myself, my friends or loved ones getting killed with a gun?. Up till now, I am yet to find a solution that fully satisfies me.

Yes, I still have not found a solution for  me, but my sleepless nights were not in vain, because one early morning I did come up with a solution. The question that popped up in my mind was; “what about insurance?”

Yes, mandatory insurance for all gun owners!! We all drive cars and nowadays these cars are so important that most of us cannot imagine a world without them. Unfortunately cars can sometimes hurt other people or damage other people’s property. So how did we solve that problem? We made it compulsory for everyone to buy insurance for their cars. We all know that no car dealer is going to allow you to drive a car out of their lot without you having insurance to cover the car and damage that it causes to other people and property. So why can’t we just make everyone get insurance to cover potential damage caused by guns. Like car insurance the younger you are the more money firearm insurance would cost you. Of course if you end up hurting or killing someone with your gun your rates would go up if you are lucky enough to stay out of jail.

A pile-up car accident

Anyway, I thought that was a great idea and like all great ideas it appears I was not the first person to think about that. Yes there is firearm insurance for gun owners, the NRA (National Rifle Association) actually has its own policy. The only problem is, this is not mandatory.  The NRAs basic firearm insurance policy though appears to offer protection for guns and accessories from; 

  • Loss
  • Damage
  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Theft (including theft from a locked vehicle)

The basic policy above covers the gun and accessories but if you accidentally hurt someone with your gun you are on your own. They offer additional coverage though for accidental injury for both private citizens and firearms instructors. On this issue I believe the NRA has a great idea, the next step is for congress to make this mandatory. This is a win win for everyone, insurance carriers and the NRA would quickly develop a good reliable database of do-not-insure list and those people would not be able to buy a gun. Anyway, if you live in the same home with someone on that list your rates would also goes up.

I am still waiting for congress to take action on this tantalizing idea. As for me, my sleepless nights are still not over. I would let you know when I have a solution that works for me and my family.

By Dr. Leonard Sowah, an internal medicine physician in Baltimore, Maryland 


A physician providing primary medical care to patients across the lifespan