This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If we were to view firearms as we do vehicles, we may be able to move forward in addressing gun-related violence.
A vehicle can be lethal. Therefore, we agree that vehicle ownership should be assigned legal accountability by requiring registration, licensure by its owner and evidence of insurance for events that cause damage to the owner and others.
Should we not adopt similar accountability for firearms? When sold, each firearm is linked to its owner by registration, regardless of how the weapon is acquired.
The owner is licensed and required to carry insurance and retains liability for the weapon until the weapon's registration is legally transferred to another person. The insurance premium is related to the relative lethal impact and other actuarially determined factors.
While this recommendation does not replace other recommendations to minimize the risk of weapon related-catastrophes, it could augment such efforts.
Yes, illegal possession will remain a problem, as will criminal activities that result in tragedies and mayhem in our communities. Yet it may cause owners of firearms to take greater care in securing weapons from unintended access for which they are held legally liable.
Liana B. Teteberg