Could Insurance Provide Gun Control?

November/​December 2013 • Policy Report

Would a liability insurance mandate for firearm owners provide an effective means of gun control? In the latest issue of Regulation, Stephen G. Gillis and Nelson Lund examine this alternative, which rests on the principle of competitive pressure.

Insurance companies would have an incentive to keep premiums for low‐​risk gun owners low, while charging higher premiums to those who are more likely to cause injury to others. “The benefits to public safety would be modest,” the authors ultimately conclude, “but such a regulation would be preferable to many politically popular gun control proposals that would be ineffective, unconstitutional, or both.”

Timothy D. Lytton next considers our inadequate system of food regulation — pointing in particular to misrepresentative food labeling and outbreaks of illness. These problems, he notes, underscore “the shortcomings of government food regulation and the inadequacy of industry self‐​regulation.”

Yet, there is one niche market in the industry that points to an alternative solution. “The success of kosher food certification offers a model of independent, private certification that could improve food safety and labeling,” Lytton writes, “and point the way toward regulatory reform in other areas such as finance and health care.”

Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger ask why climate change assessments overlook the differences between the models being used and the empirical data. Jagadeesh Gokhale considers a new approach to Social Security disability insurance reform, noting that more of the disabled would return to work if they faced better incentives.

Other contributors include Ike Brannon, who tackles the economics of sports stadiums in “Could Dan Snyder End Publicly Financed Stadiums?” and M. Todd Henderson, who considers ways to improve corporate governance in “Reconceptualizing Corporate Boards.”

The Fall 2013 issue features book reviews on the causes of and response to the financial crisis, what ended history’s great empires from ancient Rome to modern America, and why state‐​led humanitarian efforts typically fall short of their stated goals. It wraps up with editor Peter Van Doren’s survey of recent academic papers, as well as a final word from Tim Rowland on the demise of automotive dealerships.

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