Illinois Bill HB 5170 Requires $1M Liability Insurance for Gun Owners

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Illinois is in the midst of a Second Amendment snarl, and it’s not just about Illinois Bill HB 5170 introduced by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz. She introduced the bill on Friday that would require gun owners to have at least $1 Million in liability insurance. But added to their current mess regarding that Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID), it just causes the gun owners of Illinois to lose their 2A rights.

Illinois Bill HB 5170

“Amends the Illinois Insurance Code. Prohibits surplus line insurance producers from procuring and domestic surplus line insurers from insuring the risk of legal fees, costs, or expenses related to an investigation, indictment, or prosecution of any criminal charge arising out of the use of a firearm. Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Provides that an applicant for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or for renewal of that Card must submit to the Illinois State Police that he or she has proof of liability insurance coverage of at least $1,000,000 for accidental injuries caused by a firearm. Provides that the Illinois State Police may require annual proof of the person’s liability insurance coverage and may suspend a person’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card for failure to maintain that coverage or for failure to provide the Illinois State Police with proof of that coverage. Provides that the proof of liability insurance coverage required under these provisions is required for both an initial application for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and for renewal of that Card.” Illinois Bill HB 5170

First problem: the bill specifically prohibits “surplus line insurers” from insuring gun owners. For the record, surplus line insurance companies protect regular insurance companies from overly high risks. They often are not licensed in the state, but do accept higher risks than regular insurance carriers. They are regularly monitored in most states for their financial solvency.  This bill doesn’t allow them to insure gun owners.

Example: Carry Guard insurance. In California, Carry Guard insurance was ordered out of the State back in 2018. It was an unlicensed “surplus line” company that insured concealed carriers.

HB 5107 leaves standard insurance companies to cover gun owners for liability. Most insurance companies cover firearms owners under the homeowners policy, but liability for any accidents or criminal behavior is something each person would have to check on prior to purchasing a policy.

The Democrats in Illinois are well aware of that problem.

In addition, the bill amends the Illinois FOID code to require gun owners to yearly advise the Illinois State Police of their insurance coverage. An IL FOID card is good for ten years…so the hassle of yearly notifications is also a Democrat ploy. If a gun owner fails to advise ISP each year, their FOID card can be revoked, which in effect leaves them without a 2A right in the state.

The 2A snarl

The State of Illinois is already in the midst of serious issues with regard to the FOID cards and other gun control measures, with some claiming people are waiting 6 months to receive one, or years for receiving a new one if they lost it.

The Center Square reported,

Kailey Pritchard, owner of Raging Bullet Guns and More in Auburn, called the bill “ridiculous.” 

“I have loyal customers, they’re not going to get rid of their guns,” she said. “They’ll pay what they have to. Or they’ll just move out of state.”

She said the proposal was just another in a long line of policies designed to make gun ownership more difficult and more expensive in Illinois. As a gun store owner, she said she doesn’t see the state appropriately handling policies on the books now, including the Illinois Firearm Dealer License Certification Act.

“There’s nothing set in stone,” Pritchard said. “They can’t even get FOID cards out the door. People are waiting six months for FOID cards. How are they going to check on any of this stuff? They took my money and I never heard back.”

In January, a Federal lawsuit was filed against the Illinois State Police, accusing the state of defunding the FOID program on purpose, taking away citizen’s Second Amendment rights with administrative tactics.

“The effect of this has been a systematic slowdown and sometimes halt of processing of applications and appeals of the FOID Card Act.  Applicants and appellants spend days on the phone attempting to reach someone at the [Illinois State Police] with no success.  In the unlikely event that a person answers, the applicant/appellant is usually told only that their case is under review…

…the laws governing the licensing of firearm possession and concealed carry in Illinois have resulted in a system that, for some, result [sic] in a permanent denial of that right. This is due to a system that is extremely quick to deny or revoke persons’ rights, and extremely slow in acknowledging or restoring them.” Courthouse News

Illinois HB 5170 is just another tactic to add administrative nightmares to an already messed up system.

Featured photo: Screenshot of Kailey Pritchard, Gun Store owner, via The Center Square

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