Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D-NV) included some goodies in the Seante’s health-reform bill for the gun nuts – Gun Owners of America. I say nuts because I beleive that the constitutional issue of individual gun ownership has been settled – though perhaps wrongly – and a a law abidding citizen thus has the right to own a gun for self protection and hunting. Though for reasons that should be obvious I’m against selling guns to convicted rapists among other felons, against so-called cop killer ammo, I am for back ground checks and against what has been called the terroist loop-hole that allows terrroist and violent felons to buy guns at gun shows ( I’ve looked for a Moderate Gun Owners Association or a Sane Gun Owners Club – there are no such organizations unfortunately). To GOA those kinds of reasonable restrictions on gun ownership are akin to anti-Americanism.
GOA got it into its head that, if health reform were passed, the health and human services secretary would compel insurers to punish gun ownership as an unhealthy lifestyle.
There is some irony here. I do not blame Senator Reid for putting language into the bill that protects gun owners from being included by insurance companies as a high risk group. Its just not worth spending the political capital on. Though it is certainly two things that serve as weekly, if not daily examples of how unprincipled conservatives are. First, since the GOA’s membership is mostly conservative and right leaning libertarians, they are asking Big Gov’mint to give them special protection from something the government had no plan to do anyway – the government will not collect information on individual gun owners as it pertains to their gun ownership being a health hazard. A myth to this affect made the rounds of the Gun Nuts from two insurance companies canceled a couple property insurance policies because one case the guy was, unbeknown to the company, running a shooting range on his property. The other hypocrisy,
But apparently GOA is worried that private health insurers may, even in the absence of government pressure, take notice of studies like this one and this one and this one that show gun owners are (duh) more likely to injure or kill themselves or others, and adjust their risk tables accordingly. Now they can’t, thanks to GOA’s newfound enthusiasm for the heavy hand of government regulation.
Conservatives have thus forced the government to insert itself into the private sector’s risk assessment practices of the policies it issues. The actuarial tables say gun owners( such as myself) are a greater risk to their lives and health then non-gun owners. The corporate private sector, which conservatives are said to believe has no great social responsibilities other then making a profit, are to have big bad government keep said corporations from pricing their policies according to documented risks. Its generally liberals that believe that the private sector should be allowed wide range, but human nature being what it is, the government should act like a referee – not allowing the game to turn into a free for all melee. Reid’s gift ( gun welfare) to these principled conservatives driven purely by myth is not about protecting free enterprise or reigning in excess. It is about using the government to cuddle the delicate mindset of the fringe.