Reminder for the right: Private property rights do trump gun rights

Reminder for the right: Private property rights do trump gun rights

In Florida earlier this year, Republican majorities in both houses passed an NRA-backed bill that prohibited private insurers “from denying coverage or increasing rates based on customers owning guns or ammunition.” Demonstrating a comprehensive inability to grasp the nature of individual rights, state representative Matt Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Tribune in April that “Floridians have a constitutional right to bear arms,” and that, in consequence, “even one case of insurers taking action because of gun ownership is ‘too much.’” “How much discrimination based on the exercise of a constitutional right is tolerable?” Gaetz asked. Oh dear.

Per the Tribune, the bill was designed to apply

to property and automobile insurers and add language to part of state law that deals with “unfair discrimination.” As an example, the bill would seek to block insurers from refusing to issue policies because of customers’ lawful ownership or possession of firearms. Similarly, it would bar them from charging “unfairly discriminatory” rates based on gun ownership or possession.

There is, let us be clear, nothing “conservative” about this idea, which has at its root the dangerous presumption that Americans are not truly able to enjoy their rights unless they are protected from the consequences of their exercise. … If the actuarial evidence reveals that homes with firearms are riskier than homes without, premiums paid by gun owners should reflect that fact. The Bill of Rights exists to protects the citizenry’s capacity to act without government sanction. It does not guarantee immunity from reality. …

The notion that there is a significant difference between government force and private choice is a cornerstone of American liberty. Much to the irritation of reformers and meddlers alike, a “right” in the United States is a cudgel that can be used against the state, not by it.

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