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.

7. How likely is such a law to pass?

Max Whittaker/Reuters/File
A Walther handgun is displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nev., in this 2011 photo. US state lawmakers eager to reduce gun violence are proposing mandatory liability insurance for firearm owners as a new way to limit deaths and injuries from guns.

Not very. Many such bills have been rejected over the years – nearly two dozen since 2003, in fact, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Illinois failed to pass a bill in 2009 requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance and the state House recently rejected a measure that would have required concealed weapons carriers to carry liability insurance.

Were such a bill to pass, it would likely face legal challenges over the constitutionality of forcing people to buy insurance to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

What’s more, Hartwig says it is unlikely insurers would offer such coverage.

“There is no guarantee that such a product would emerge were legislation passed as written,” he says. “You can mandate coverage but you cannot mandate insurers to offer such coverage.”

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