Grassroot Perspective – Feb. 7, 2003-Gun Registration and Resistance Head North; Field of Reams; Why Do We Regulate Insurance?

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Gun Registration and Resistance Head North

About 27 percent of Quebec gun owners have refused or neglected to
obtain a license for their firearm, as required under a law that went
into effect on January 1st — probably the highest non-compliance
rate of any province in Canada.

Why are so many Quebec gun owners indifferent to the case for
stricter gun laws? Is their non-compliance simply a knee-jerk
hostility to the theatrical tactics employed by Michael Moore in his
film “Bowling for Columbine”?

No. According to Independent Institute research fellow Pierre
Lemieux, non-compliance is based on the resistors’ understanding of
the legitimacy of private firearm ownership. In support of his claim,
Lemieux cites a group called the Canadian Unregistered Firearm Owners Association, which has launched a civil disobedience campaign against the law, called C-68.

“There are many reasons to resist C-68,” Lemieux wrote in his
occasional column for the NATIONAL POST. “It forces any individual
who even only wants to keep his hunting gun at home to apply for a
personal licence every five years, and tell the police about his
depressions and his love life. It forces 10% of the Canadian adult
population to notify the police when they change addresses. It grants
the police arbitrary powers to seize guns and to deny or revoke
licences. In certain circumstances, it allows searches (rechristened
“inspections”) without warrants. C-68 also forces the registration of
all individual guns, and prepares the sort of confiscation that the
British and the Australians have recently suffered (like, before
them, subjects of all totalitarian countries). It is one of the last
nails in the coffin of the right of individuals to defend their lives
if the police cannot (or will not) intervene. …

“George Orwell, the author of 1984, wrote: ‘That rifle hanging on the
wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of
democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.'”

See “The Gun in the Labourer’s House,” by Pierre Lemieux (THE
NATIONAL POST, 12/31/02)

Above article is quoted from January 27, 2003

– Field of Reams

The Federal Communication Commission is set to go to war this week
(1/14/03) over how best to regulate local phone companies. The local
Bells insist they can’t deliver all the advanced goodies like broadband unless they are given a free hand to price their offerings as they want. And if that means locking out would-be competitors, so be it.

Net service providers and re-sellers say, Wait a minute, we’ve heard
that one before. The Bells always claim that something won’t be built — fiber to the home, new switches, whatever — unless the FCC eases up. Then the FCC eases up and nothing gets built.

Only one outcome is certain: Regulators and politicians will make sure that urban areas continue to subsidize rural ones in some form or fashion.

On the plus side, FCC chairman Michael Powell seems to understand that giving consumers more control over what they see and hear is good. Reflecting on his favorite Christmas present, Powell called TiVo “God’s machine.”

Powell’s affection for the digital video recorder is significant, as the big content mob would love for the FCC go along with plans to cripple digital video recorders in the name of copyright protection.

Above article is quoted from
Reason Express 1/14/03

– St. Petersburg Times

“On the Castle Coalition Website,, you will find the ‘Eminent Domain Abuse
Survival Guide.’ It is a manual for owners potentially facing
condemnation, informing them of everything from effective
coalition-building and lobbying to how to ‘make noise.’ All in the hopes of getting owners a fair shake in a process that, for many years, has been looking more like a shakedown.” — Reported by Institute for Justice December 2002

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

Why Do We Regulate Insurance?

Markets, Not Government Regulators, Provide Consumers With Better
Services at Better Prices

By Wayne T. Brough, Ph.D.

As the economy has evolved, insurance markets have become more
diversified, more efficient, and more accurate in assessing risk. Today, consumers have a wide variety of options when shopping for insurance, which has become a major industry in the United States, with revenues of roughly $800 billion and net income of around $40 billion annually. Numerous brokers and agents supply a wide variety of products to meet the needs of consumers. At the same time, insurance instruments are available from a greater number of sources, including self-insurance and financial services providers. Where allowed, competition has generated the results that would be expected in any competitive market — lower prices, a wider variety of goods and services, and more fully informed producers and consumers who can make more knowledgeable decisions about
the insurance products they need. Nonetheless, insurance markets in most states remain heavily regulated, which raises costs for consumers.

The prospect of a more competitive insurance market offers the potential for significant consumer gains. As early as 1973 Professor Joskow at Massachusetts Institute for Technology demonstrated that markets for insurance had no characteristics suggesting a need for regulation. To varying degrees, states are evaluating the possibility of increasing the degree of competition in the insurance industry. Technological advances, financial services deregulation, and more effective risk management tools have compelled many states to reconsider the role of competition.

Insurance, as an industry, has long operated under the watchful eye of regulators. As the industry matured in the 19th century, concerns about financial solvency and consumer information led many states and localities to regulate the operations of insurance providers. A primary concern was the ability of insurers to cover the losses of their customers in the case of a widespread catastrophe. Fire, in particular, was a major issue in the in the 19th century. With lower building standards and dense construction in urban areas, fires spread quickly and heavy losses tallied just as swiftly. Fearing that some providers did not have the reserves required in the event of a disaster, regulations were put in place to govern reserve requirements for insurance providers. As in other industries, concerns arose over the potential for “ruinous competition” that would lower prices to the point where insurers would not be operating with sufficient reserves to fulfill their obligations to customers.

Despite the public interest language endorsing insurance regulation,
there were clearly selfish incentives at work promoting entry
restrictions and price regulation. As in other regulated industries,
fears of ruinous competition and bad actors could be used to establish a new regulatory regime that protected incumbents at the expense of consumers and potential new entrants. Indeed, the fact that government charters and regulation provided a secure revenue stream can be traced back to the creation of England’s first insurance businesses: “In 1720, reputedly succumbing to a bribe of