There are two types of insurance when dealing with firearms. Insurance that covers the theft/damage/loss of your firearm collection, and then insurance that covers you in the event of a liability, such as having to defend yourself with a firearm, or even an accidental shooting that damages property or results in an injury.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of gun owners don’t go shopping for a firearm with the thought that they’ll need to open fire on another human being. The odds of you having to actually use your firearm in a self-defense scenario are pretty slim. However, for some, that nightmare is all too real.
There are two hypothetical examples I’d like to go over, and yes, I’m aware this won’t encompass every possible situation. The first being you’re out with the family, eating at your favorite restaurant. The meal is great, and your steak is cooked perfectly. You’re discussing your day with the family when a psychopath walks in and tries to rob the place. Imagine the diner scene from Pulp Fiction. Two shots ring out and you see the cashier drop. This psychopath cleans out the cash register and is now going table to table, threatening to shoot anyone that doesn’t hand over their valuables.
Being the responsible firearm owner that you are, you slide your pistol from its concealed (or open) position and prevent any further unnecessary loss of life by putting that animal down. The police arrive and perform their investigation. Witnesses are questioned, you’re questioned, and the stories gel. It is obvious that you’re a hero and that the use of your legal firearm was 1000% justified. The police are satisfied and don’t take you into custody. You and your family go on their merry way…alive.
Now let’s go over something a little different. You’re off work late, because you’re on the second shift. It’s dark, and the streets are empty. You work in a crime-ridden neighborhood, so you routinely carry a concealed pistol. You’re nearly to your car when you see a man walking up to you. By the time you’re at your car, he’s already on top of you. A struggle ensues, but you manage to draw your pistol and kill the attacker. You call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.
This time, it’s a little different. You don’t have any witnesses. It’s your word versus that of a dead man. I’m no criminal justice expert, so I’m going to bend the narrative of the scenario to the point where you’re actually detained and interrogated by a homicide detective. Perhaps you’re released, but there are some unanswered questions. The media gets a hold of your story and the next thing you know, you’re on CNN and some idiot on Twitter has created a hashtag condemning you as a killer. Things start to snowball quickly and before you know it, you’re being sued by the attacker’s family.
This. Does. Happen.
This is an all too real possibility, especially with the trend of some social movements deifying violent criminals into innocent victims. We have multiple examples of this happening within the last five years, so don’t scoff at this instance. You may even end up in court, having to defend your innocence.
So what do you do? You lawyer up, and quickly, before the victim narrative intensifies and you’re portrayed as a violent gun nut. The difference maker here is whether you had some sort of insurance or not. There are a number of providers and names, ranging from concealed carry insurance to firearm liability insurance. Lawyers, even bad ones, are expensive, and you could be facing an extended court case that may require multiple appearances before you’re ultimately exonerated.
Now, the less exciting type of firearm insurance is akin to any other type of property insurance. This covers you in the event of a fire, theft, or damage scenario. Maybe you’re a collector of vintage rifles, or like me, you’re just a gun nut that has a great collection. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance won’t always cover your guns (check with your particular company and grill them, because they intentionally stay vague when discussing these things). So how do we make sure our guns have proper coverage? With targeted insurance that focuses solely on firearms. With the increasing popularity of firearms, you have a wide range of options to choose from. As with anything else, doing a bit of homework will go a long way in finding the right insurance provider for your scenario.
For example, NRA members are offered a no-cost policy valued up to $2500. This includes the firearms and any attached accessories, such as scopes, slings, etc. This will probably be good enough for a majority of us that stick to the one pistol/rifle/shotgun type of ownership. They also offer a “Plus” tier of insurance, in addition to insurance for retired law enforcement, self-defense, and personal liability.
To quote the great Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. No one is immune from the awful scenarios above, just as no one is immune from accidents or theft. The key question is are you going to be proactive and prepared, or reactive and playing catch up?
Do you have firearms insurance? Have you ever been involved in a shooting, and care to share the story? What did you experience? Was it cut and dry, or did you have to defend your actions in court? Share your story with us!