Next big thing in gun control? 7 questions about mandatory gun insurance.

As President Obama prepares to travel the country to drum up support for federal gun control laws ahead of a Senate vote in April, one idea is gaining steam at the state level: mandatory gun insurance.

6. Does anything like gun insurance currently exist?

Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic/AP
Lisa Wilkerson fires at a target created to look like a man pointing a pistol at her during a women's handgun self-defense class hosted by the Open Bible Christian Center in Yakima, Wash., in March.

Yes. The NRA offers voluntary “excess personal liability” insurance up to $250,000 primarily for hunters and shooters at private ranges. Notably, this insurance covers accidents, not intentional acts of violence. Along with the NRA, the United States Concealed Carry Association also offers gun owners self-defense insurance. If a gun owner is sued using a firearm in self-defense, self-defense insurance pays for legal expenses if the gun owner is found innocent or if charges are dismissed.

“God forbid you ever have to use your firearm in self-defense but if you do, you’re going to need help. Good, solid, legal help … you’re protected by the Self-Defense Shield,” trumpets a Concealed Carry insurance promotion, which covers up to $300,000 in civil liabilities.

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Dear Reader,

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If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

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We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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