Gun advocates seem to have no problems with spamming anyone they know with uninformed diatribes meant to convince others of the importance of America’s second amendment rights. They also don’t mind discussing how many and what types of guns they own. And while they are more than willing to share this information on most social media outlets, they get very testy if they are required to report any of this information to an official agency.
One example comes from a viral internet rumor that suggests that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires doctors and insurance companies to ask whether an individual owns a gun. First it should be noted that there is no such requirement in the ACA and while it doesn’t seem like owning a gun would have much bearing on how a doctor treats you, it could certainly impact an insurance company’s bottom line. Insurance companies have to take all sorts of data into account when determining what rate to charge you for your coverage. If you have a fireplace in your home you will pay more because that increases the chances of a house fire. If you have a security system, your rate can go down because it decreases the chances of a break-in.
This type of thorough analysis is how the insurance companies balance the risk/reward equation of offering someone a policy. If gun advocates truly wanted to put their money where their mouth is they would demand that insurance companies take gun ownership into account when determining their rate. After all, if owning a gun makes them safer then they should be rewarded with a lower rate by the insurance company. Revolting over the idea that insurance companies could require policy holders to divulge their gun ownership status suggests these advocates know the data doesn’t match their rhetoric.
Of course these advocates will argue that they should be free from the government tyranny of being forced to report such information. Luckily for gun owners even if reporting gun ownership to insurance companies became a requirement there is no corresponding punishment for failing to report that information. The only repercussion would come from an insurance company denying any claim surrounding an unreported gun. But beyond that, tracking certain types of data such as real estate transactions, corporations with government contracts, and voter registration have long been a function of the government and all of these records are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Ownership of certain types of weapons is no different.
So while many might complain about a New York newspaper publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners, advocates who truly believe their own rhetoric would support such a move, because if guns act as a deterrent then criminals would be much less likely to break into the home of a gun owner. The house without a gun permit should make for a much easier target.
And this is where many gun advocates really show their hypocrisy. Many of them are all for checking the papers of someone with darker skin just in case they are here illegally, or tracking the e-mails of Muslims because there is a chance they could be terrorists, but gathering any information on gun owners in an attempt to prevent gun violence is unacceptable.
The reality is that while the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, it doesn’t guarantee the right to privacy. This pervasive NR-sponsored idea that the second amendment gives all Americans access to a nearly unlimited arsenal without any of the oversight and restrictions that accompany our other constitutional rights is the biggest impediment to solving the American gun violence crisis.