Chad Love: Guns = “Unhealthy” Lifestyle?

I am for the most part, a simpleton, and many would argue that my blog posts confirm this on a fairly consistent basis. As such, I generally try to avoid wading into whatever rancorous national debate we seem to be having on any given day. Health care, for instance. Besides having nothing to do with hunting or fishing, such complex policy issues are beyond my feeble ken.

However, I couldn’t help but notice this opinion column while surfing the Web this morning.

From the story on

“Score one for the Gun Owners of America, a lobby group positioned well to the right of the National Rifle Association. Last month I described how this fringe group zeroed in on a health reform provision encouraging insurers to reward healthy habits and, by implication, to punish unhealthy ones like smoking and obesity. 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. Although an adverse health impact (or threat of same) on man or beast is pretty much the whole point of owning a gun, nothing in the bill remotely suggested Congress wanted to wade into these politically treacherous shoals.”

So the column’s author mocks the apparent paranoia of gun owners who (rightfully) don’t want the government to classify gun ownership as an (assumably) taxable “unhealthy” lifestyle.

Hey, that’s cool. We all know what opinions are like, right? Everyone has one. But then a paragraph later he pretty much validates our alleged paranoia with this:
“There’s no point pretending this has anything to do with conservative principle. Seven years ago GOA got its knickers in a twist when State Farm and Prudential canceled a couple of insurance policies because of gun ownership. One policyholder alarmed Prudential because he owned a military-style Mossberg 500 pump-action rifle. The other alarmed State Farm because he had a shooting range on his property. Both of these policies were for property insurance, not health insurance. 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.”_

I think I can safely speak for paranoid gun-owners everywhere when I say hooray for the “heavy hand of government regulation.” Laws that protect us equally from both public-sector stupidity as well as private-sector malfeasance are good laws regardless of where on the political spectrum you reside.