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N.Y. Congresswoman Receives Death Threats Over Gun Liability Insurance Bill

April 4, 2013

A New York congresswoman who recently proposed federal legislation that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance said she has been receiving death threats over her proposal.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., issued a statement Wednesday saying that “Yesterday, several death threats were phoned into my New York office in response to news reports about a bill I authored requiring gun owners to have insurance.”

“The calls were fielded by young interns, who were understandably shaken by this experience,” Rep. Maloney said.

Rep. Maloney said law enforcement has been notified and they are investigating the calls.

“I am proud of my work to help curb gun violence. I strongly support the comprehensive package of gun reforms proposed by the Obama Administration,” she said.

Some 100,000 Americans are injured by guns every year and that carrying insurance is the responsible thing to do, she said.

“Given all the acts of gun violence we have seen in the past two years, the shootings in Aurora and Newtown, the attack on my friend and colleague Gabby Gifford, I take the threat of more gun violence very seriously,” Rep. Maloney said. “But it is not something that I will allow to stop me from doing my work.”

Late last month, Rep. Maloney authored legislation, Firearms Risk Protection Act of 2013, that she said would “require that gun owners carry liability insurance, just like car owners, to give innocent victims of gun violence some recourse if they are injured.”

The Firearms Risk Protection Act of 2013 seeks to require gun owners to purchase liability coverage and to show proof of that coverage when they purchase a firearm.

“This federal requirement would serve as a market-based solution to holding gun owners liable for the weapons they own,” according to Rep. Maloney’s speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 21. “As with car insurance premiums, higher risk gun owners will face higher premiums. Actuarial determinations will be made by insurance companies, as those experts are in the best position to make those determinations based on sound data analysis.”

“This is an idea whose time has come,” Rep. Maloney said, noting that lawmakers in several states have recently introduced similar legislative proposals.

Under the proposal, “state-regulated insurance companies would be able to extend coverage to their customers — this is not a federal insurance program,” Rep. Maloney said. “Additionally, this bill poses no specific requirements on insurance companies themselves, but instead, imposes a fine of $10,000 if during the sale of a weapon the seller does not confirm coverage or the buyer has not purchased it.”

“As lawmakers, we must stand ready to work on solutions to curtail our nation’s gun violence and requiring liability coverage for gun owners should be part of the solution. I urge my colleagues to join in supporting this important piece of legislation,” Rep. Maloney said.

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