OSD 124: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on outgroup insurance

Silly ideas aren’t silly if you understand what causes them.

Last week the City Council of San Jose, California voted unanimously to adopt the mayor’s gun control proposal. The city attorney will now draft an ordinance and bring it back to the council for a vote in September. The headline features of the proposal require gun owners in San Jose to purchase liability insurance and to pay an annual fee for possessing a firearm.

Addressing those in reverse order: the annual fee is an unusually candid continuation of the time-honored idea that poor people’s gun rights aren’t really worth insisting upon. (We wrote a thread on that here.)

As for the insurance proposal, we highlighted some of its object-level silliness to the mayor back when he first floated it two years ago:

It’s also worth mentioning that in a number of states (e.g. New York, Washington), when gun owners created an insurance product that had actual market value — insurance to cover legal bills in the event of a lawful self-defense shooting — state regulators banned it and gun control groups celebrated the bans.

So, a summary of the position:

Useful gun insurance is so evil that it can’t be allowed to exist. But useless gun insurance is so good that people should be forced to buy it whether they want to or not.

Welcome to another day in gun laws. This enthusiastic incoherence is very hard to explain if you model this as a discussion about which ideas will produce the best results. But there’s another model that explains it a lot better:

If there’s a group of people you want to serve, it makes little sense to force them to spend money on something that helps nobody. But if you want to alienate or stigmatize that group, it makes perfect sense.

More charitably, it still makes perfect sense even if you don’t dislike that group, but instead just don’t understand them. There’s a famous New Yorker cover about this:

Geographically, the mayor of San Jose makes laws that bind the people of San Jose. But culturally, he’s someone on 9th Ave. dropping laws onto the people of Japan. And here’s the crucial point: he doesn’t have to dislike those people for the laws to make no sense. The lack of knowledge is enough. Ignorance produces far more chaos than malice does.

If we’re being really charitable, we can also acknowledge that we all have domains where we’re the 9th Ave. resident opining about the people across the Hudson. Most disputes are more benign (e.g. flame wars about the best gun for beginners), but it’s just good practice not to opine — and certainly not to rule — from afar. Culturally, geographically, or otherwise. If you want to appeal to someone, invite them over from across the river, hit up your favorite bagel shop together*, and show them what your neighborhood is really like. And if receive that invitation from someone else, take them up on it.

*This is all metaphorical except for the bagels, which work both as a metaphor and as tasty range day snack.


This week’s links

Jim’s Goon Life on Average Joes

Most shooters are average. So why doesn’t more training cater to them? Average Joes is a cool program to help address that.

Forgotten Weapons on the FN P90

Everyone’s favorite space gun.

Noveske made a water gun

50-state legal 😉

Interesting conversation about pepper spray tactics

/r/ccw goes deep on a topic you rarely see much about — the technical details of how to use pepper spray.


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