Sunday, December 23, 2012

Is more government the answer?

I got a lot of feedback, mostly negative, from my post last week On the kinds of conversations regarding the shooting tragedy in Connecticut. Most of them were in the form of "you don't know what you're talking about", but they don't specify what they object to.

Were there objections that I pointed out that guns are part of American culture? There are benefits to gun ownership, just as there are benefits to owning a car. Were readers upset that I pointed out that there are risks to gun ownership? Guns are, by definition, dangerous - they are designed to kill and having a weapon in your house and possession raise your risk level, just as owning a car is risker (you can run over people with it). The debate is over whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

What I do find curious is that the gun ownership constituency tends to be of the "get the government off my back" variety and, at the same time, the NRA's called on the federal government to station police officers in every school in the country.

Is this where we've come to? A "get the government off my back" crowd calling for more government? How about deploying elements of the 101st Airborne or 4th Mountain in schools? Wouldn't that deter the "bad" guys even more?

If you do believe in gun ownership and your philosophy is "less government is better government", then there is a better way forward - let the market do it.

The free market solution
Just as everyone above a certain age is allow to own a car, everyone who is qualified could be allowed to own a gun. Just as car ownerships are required to have insurance, gun owner should be required to carry a large level of liability insurance in case the guns under his control are used improperly.

That way, we can let the market regulate gun ownership rather than the government. Insurance companies are in the business of pricing risk and they should be able to price the cost of gun ownership properly. That way, the market can create barriers to the "crazies" owning guns.

No doubt, the level of gun ownership will decrease under such a proposal, but the "right kind" of gun ownership, i.e. responsible ones, will be largely unaffected. In America, everyone who is qualified is allowed to own a car, but not everyone is owns one because of the costs involved. Under this proposal, the free market would tend to weed out the higher risk cases.

If America is the embodiment of the embrace of free markets, then this would be an important step in the application of this principle pertaining to the gun ownership and control debate.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.


Anonymous said...

uh, adam lanza didn't own a gun.

and the ONLY pertinent point is that there is a constitutional right to own guns.

the people who want to take away our money are the same people who want to take away our guns. What a coincidence!!!!!

If they want to take away our guns, then pass an ammendment to the constitution. If they can't pass an ammendment to the constitution, then don't try to take away our guns!

if they IGNORE THE LAWS of the land and take away our guns, then just why in the bloody hell do we, their opponents, have to obey the laws of the land??

Spitting on the constitution has become endemic in our country, what with a president who has a phony birth cert, a phony selective service card, and what is ALLMOST SURELY a STOLEN social security number.

yeah, go ahead and ignore the rule of law. just don't expect the rest of us to give two cents about the law either.

and get a bot detector that has words that can be read, for cryin out loud, dude!

Anonymous said...

i typed a whole comment and then i couldn't read the damn shit in your robot detector

good freaking grief!!!

i'm not typing my whole damn comment again.

get a decent bot detector, dude!!!!!!@!

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

The question is how do we keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

I wish I had an answer.

It is funny how the extreme pro gun people are quiet when people are asked to fill out a form and provide ID just to buy a box of Sudafed. They say if they have nothing to hide then they shouldn't care.
Or be searched by TSA.

I appreciate your market solution to guns but the market will also find a way to make them cheaper so the even the most economically challenged could get one.

In the end, the only entity that has the scope and authority to regulate guns is government,

Cam Hui, CFA said...

To Anonymous:

Adam Lanza may not have owned a gun, but he killed his mother who owned a whole bunch of weapons. In this case, it would be his mother, or his mother's estate, that would bear civil liability for the wrongful deaths.

The insurance industry can price the risk of weapon ownership and how individual secure their weapons cache.

This proposal does not take away someone's constitutional rights to own a gun. It just prices the risk.

For the gun lobby: His mother owned guns to defend herself against criminals and other "bad guys". I guess that she was unable to defend herself in this instance - so what was the benefit to her ownership?

To Truth 101:
In America, gun culture is so pervasive that you can't take people's guns away from them. It's not politically possible.

Politics is the art of the possible and this proposal just prices the risk of gun ownership and reduces their overall risk to society.

Moe said...

Conspiracy theory much, Anonymous. Or are you a troll from fox news? Which by the way is owned by an Australian, how's that for phony Americans!
Get a life and get off your racist need to be shown a birth certificate, which to you will never believe to be the real one, because you can't comprehend people NOT telling lies. Grow up it;s 2012 Not 1812.