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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 
Does Rep. Collins have insurance for a gun accident?

by Spocko
Congressman Chris Collins Gun Wanter
CREDIT MICHAEL MROZIAK, WBFO
Congressman Chris Collins (R) New York wrote an opinion piece titled:

I’m a member of Congress and I’m going to start carrying a gun 

Okay Rep. Collins. I hear you, now I have a few questions I think the public has a right to know, especially those who are physically in the same place as you and your gun.
(Not that I expect he will answer them, he wouldn't say whether or not he was wearing a gun today while a chamber of commerce event at Micheal's Catering & Banquet in Blasdell NY. I have more on possible reasons why he didn't answer below*.)
Congressman, you have stated you will be carrying a gun everywhere in your district.

The Personal Questions

  1. Do you have liability insurance in case you have an accident with the gun and injure someone?
  2. What does your policy cover? What is exempt?
  3. What are the limits of your insurance coverage?
  4. If you have gun insurance, how much does it cost every year?
  5. How does gun insurance costs compare to your auto insurance? Homeowners Insurance? Your umbrella liability policy?
  6. Who pays for your insurance? You or taxpayers?
To put liability limits in terms of your state-required auto insurance, for example:
  • New York auto insurance minimums are $25,000 - $50,000 limits for bodily injury for each person accidently injured in a car accident.  Gun injuries can cost much more. For gunshot survivors, the cost is much more than a single bullet. (Link)
    “It's not uncommon for us to have a patient who has a total hospital bill for their acute inpatient hospitalization of over a million dollars,” Doherty said. “And in that situation, that patient has no insurance. Essentially, that's free charity care provided by the (Advocate Christ) hospital.”  American Aljazeera, 2015 by 

How Big Is Your Gun Insurance Coverage?

  • Is there a lifetime cap on the medical bills it will pay?
  • What if you injure someone with your gun and your insurance policy tops out? Do you have additional coverage such as an umbrella policy on your homeowners insurance?
  • Would your homeowners' insurance cover this? Some policies won't cover you if you are breaking the law when your gun accident happens. ( I don't know how much training you have, but my gun-carrying friends remind me that "negligent discharge of the firearm" is a more accurate phrase than "gun accident" which the media uses.)
Example: Let's say you hold one of your fundraisers in a gun-free zone. (I was going to say a Town Hall, but you haven't had one since you were elected in 2012!)

 You decide to break that law and carry your gun concealed into the gun-free zone then BANG!  You didn't intend to have an accident, but you did intend to break the law by bringing your gun into a place it was prohibited.  Violating that law could mean you are not covered by insurance.
Collins' lunch was at Micheal's Catering & Banquet.
They hold weddings where alcohol is served. 
Micheal's Catering & Banquet probably has a policy banning guns except those carried by licensed security guards and police officers. That might have been the reason Collin didn't answer the question if he was carrying a gun. Property owners can ban guns on their property, they have that right.

Micheal's also has a financial reason to ban guns at their events. They hold wedding and events where alcohol is served and people get rowdy (see photo). For insurance reasons they might ban guns on their property.

If they do not allow guns on their property and Collins defied them, their insurance carrier should be informed.  Yes it's after the fact, but insurance carriers either raise rates or cancel policies if they find out management allows people who have unknown levels of training and blood alcohol carrying guns onto their property.

The Big Questions

  • Who pays for the medical costs of the person injured by Collin's gun?
  • What if the injured person needs long-term medical care? 
  • What happens if the injured person has a pre-existing condition because of the gun shot?
Congressman Collins voted yes on HR1628, the Trump/Ryan Bill on American Medical Care.

That bill blocked people with pre-existing conditions from getting coverage if they were without coverage for over 30 days. (Say for example they lose their job during the weeks it takes to recover from a gunshot wound. That job loss also means losing their employee health care. )

If someone who is injured with the congressman's gun now has a pre-existing condition, they would be denied medical insurance in the future.

Gun owners are not required to be financially responsible for the gun accident injuries they cause while legally carrying guns in public.

Is Collins financially responsible for the consequences of decision to carry a gun everywhere? If not, why not?

Who should pick up the medical bill for gun injuries if the responsible gun owners who caused them won't?

If the congresspeople start carrying everywhere the public should know:
  1. How well trained are they? 
  2. When they are carrying a gun. People should be able to choose not to be in the same room with them.
  3. If they are following the law when they are carrying. In many states it's prohibited to drink alcohol while carrying. 
  4. If they cause an accident while carrying the medical bills of the injured will be paid. 
  5. The injured will have guaranteed health care if they have a pre-existing condition that arises from being accidently shot by a congressman.