Comparing gun ownership to car ownership, Representative Linsky wants to require Massachusetts residents to provide proof of gun insurance before they can purchase any firearm. Requiring gun insurance, the representative said, could also induce individuals to take ongoing gun safety and training classes as a means to reduce their gun insurance rates.
The bill's gun insurance requirement is designed to cover gun-related injuries and deaths. The bill would also require gun license applicants to disclose their mental health histories, and would prohibit assault weapons from being stored in personal residences.
In 2011, Massachusetts was ranked as having the third strongest overall gun control laws in the nation by the BradyCampaign.org. As part of the gun licensing process, Massachusetts already requires a background check, fingerprinting, photographing, a $100 fee, a gun course with a separate fee, and a passing grade in a shooting proficiency test. Massachusetts is a “may issue” state, not a “shall issue” state, meaning that the police chief of each town has complete discretion to issue a gun license, and to add restrictions to that license as he or she may deem appropriate.
This is not the first time a gun insurance law has been proposed in Massachusetts. In 2011, the state legislature considered, but eventually rejected, a gun insurance bill that required gun owners to carry not less than $250,000 in liability insurance.
In addition to Representative Linksy's bill, several others bills are scheduled to be considered, and are expected to compliment proposed federal gun control laws formally introduced by President Obama on Wednesday. Each of the proposed gun control laws are expected to receive stiff resistance from Republicans and gun rights activists.
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