House bill would require gun owners to have liability insurance

House Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance.

The Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled Friday, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it. Service members and law enforcement officers, however, would be exempt from the requirement.

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“We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns," Maloney said in a statement. "The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise.”

Maloney said auto insurance carriers incentivize drivers to take precautions to reduce accidents, but no such incentives exist for firearm owners.

“An insurance requirement would allow the free market to encourage cautious behavior and help save lives,” she said. “Adequate liability coverage would also ensure that the victims of gun violence are fairly compensated when crimes or accidents occur."

This is the second time Maloney, who is one of the biggest gun control advocates in Congress, has introduced the legislation. A few weeks ago she reintroduced legislation that would require sellers to obtain a background check for all guns sold at gun shows. 

The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act, long championed by former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), would subject anyone selling or transferring a gun to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and require that transfers be reported to the attorney general.