Gun Sellers, Gun Makers, And Their Insurance Companies: I'm Calling You Out

by Jen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

I remember when I was pregnant with my first son. I was surprised to find myself struggling to find an obstetrician because foolishly I had thought all I needed was a doctor for my lady bits. But apparently, no. You need a doctor who can take the baby out of your lady bits, an entirely different proposition.

And what makes that proposition different is that you can sue the scrubs off your obstetrician in ways unheard of in other branches of medicine if anything goes wrong during delivery. And not to freak out any pregnant people, spoiler alert, but things can go wrong during delivery. It’s an age old fact. Popping a human out of another human is risky business.

Certainly there are other contributing reasons to why there are fewer obstetricians, but that litigious attitude and the exorbitant price they pay for insurance is one of them. So we can sue the doctor pants off someone helping us bring a human into this world (even decades after their birth), but we can’t sue somebody who sells a semiautomatic weapon, or 11 of them, to another human.

I know there are tons of people all over the United States arguing that we need guns. We need guns for police officers, military personnel, shooting ranges, hunters. People need guns to feel safe. So grandmothers, and teenagers, and housewives, and men who beat their housewives can have guns to protect themselves.

This is all great for people who make guns and for people who sell guns. As with medicine, guns are big business.

But what I’m suggesting is that the people who make the gun and the people in the room when a gun (or gun accessory) is being sold should take some responsibility for what goes down with that gun. Like, if that gun has a silencer: Why in the world does a gun need to be silenced ever? Why can’t everybody hear that gun? As I say to my kids, don’t whisper something you wouldn’t be willing to say out loud. And why does one need a bump fire stock to shoot a kabillion bullets in a minute? Too many coyotes on someone’s property? Like how many coyotes is that? Not even Clarice Starling needed a silencer or bump fire stock on her gun, and she was a badass serial killer hunter.

Of course, the person who shot the gun should certainly be sued. But apparently they kill themselves first, so lucky that. But the person who made the gun (and accessories) that could kill lots of people quietly in a short amount of time? Also, sued. You know why your bartender won’t serve you your 11th boilermaker and then let you get in your Prius? Because they’ll be sued for involuntary manslaughter when you drive through a crowd, that’s why.

How in the world could that seller possibly know that you have 10 semiautomatic weapons already, you ask? I don’t know, but Google, Facebook, and every website I visit seems to know that I looked at a pair of kids’ Bogs boots yesterday. How in the world could a seller not know if I had 10 semiautomatic weapons bought legally?

See what I’m doing? I’m not saying people shouldn’t have guns. I get that there is a right to have guns. But I am saying that when shit goes down and goes down badly, someone should take responsibility for it. They should care if there’s just a tiny bit of a risk, like in selling an old-timey hunting rifle to a guy from Duck Dynasty, or an enormous risk, like selling to a single white male in Middle America who already owns 10 semiautomatic weapons or to a 20-year-old in Connecticut with mental illness and who can’t even attend school anymore. So when that shooter shoots himself in the head (and thanks in advance for at least that, I guess), then the next person in line for the monetary blame game should perhaps be the last person to handle the gun before the shooter destroyed someone’s world.

If the seller knows that this guy is buying his 11th $500 gun, the seller can ask themselves, is $500 worth me paying out $1 million to the 58 people this guy kills, which is to say $58 million? And maybe $500,000 to the 500 other people he injured? I’ll let you do the math. The answer is, not likely.

Oh, I know. That gun shop owner doesn’t have that kind of money anyway. (Unless he’s Walmart. Then maybe he does) which means now he’s going to need insurance so that the insurance company is going to have to pay out that money. And you know what? That insurance should be expensive, because if it is prohibitively expensive for my obstetrician to deliver a baby even after she or he has gone to college for 1 million years and paid out $1 million or more for her education, then I think it should be prohibitively expensive for Joe Schmo to sell a gun in his local Walmart or at a gun show in the middle of America.

How to afford this expensive insurance? Make those guns more freaking expensive than a diamond tiara. Life is priceless right? Ask my obstetrician. Make that gun the most valuable thing anyone owns. What are gun owners worried about? That someone is going to break into their houses and hold a gun to their family so that they can steal their stash of valuable guns? Oh, the irony.

I know that someone out there is going to troll me for writing this. Because this mean, liberal mommy is trying to take away their eleven semiautomatic weapons, bump stock, and silencers. And what the troll will say is that I will certainly wish that I had a gun in my house when they come to find me. My point is, anyone selling said troll a gun might want to have enough skin in this game to look at the troll’s social media footprint to see that nasty comment before stepping up to the blackjack table. Will the seller gamble on this troll and sell him a semiautomatic weapon? Not for $58 million he won’t. And now we’ve protected that troll’s family too. You’re welcome.

If gun ownership begins and ends with money, let’s end it right here with a big old pile of money. The company that makes guns wants to be free to make guns. The place that sells those guns wants to be free to sell guns. The buyer who buys guns wants to be free to buy guns. But freedom isn’t free.

Someone needs to pay for everything, and it shouldn’t be 559 people at a country music concert or 20 elementary school children sitting at their desks. They shouldn’t be paying for our freedom. Let’s be clear. People who make money out of selling objects that are used to take people out of this world should be paying an outrageous price. Because if my obstetrician can’t afford to bring children into this world, then the gun makers and sellers shouldn’t be able to afford to assist people in taking them out.

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