Some economists say “yes.” Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan:
[One] powerful approach is to recognize that the problem isn’t guns per se, but gun violence. Thus, instead of taxing guns, we should tax gun violence. Basically, this is the same as saying that we should make gun owners liable for any damage their guns do. Not only would this discourage some people from buying guns, it would lead those who do keep guns to be more careful with how they’re stored.
Russ Roberts of the Hoover Institution:
Is it a good idea to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance that would cover damages caused by the guns they own? In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, such policies seem like nothing more than common sense.
Robert Fran of Cornell:
Gun ownership, even in the hands of responsible people, increases the risk of death and serious injury to others. In cases involving multiple deaths, few gun owners could afford to compensate victims’ families for their losses, just as most automobile owners couldn’t afford to compensate the families of accident victims. With automobiles, we require all vehicle owners to carry liability insurance. A similar approach would help with firearms.