Sam Liccardo
Anti-gun politician poses for the cameras to further his gun control agenda. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
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By Matt Manda

Nearly 1.2 million law-abiding Californians bought a firearm in 2020 and the ranks of gun-owning Golden Staters has grown even more in 2021. They had good reasons but their purchases may now cost some even more.

Gun control cheerleaders and their media allies are heralding a new “innovative” achievement as a shining example city officials in San Jose, Calif., believe is needed to offset the costs of criminal violence. That focus is entirely misplaced. They just want to impose a new “gun ownership” tax and require already law-abiding gun owners to purchase liability insurance just to exercise their Constitutionally-protected Second Amendment right. The plan has nothing to do with stopping criminals that commit crimes.

CNN commentators latched on to the idea once they heard the proposal had passed. Reciting San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s words, CNN’s John Avlon said, “Skeptics will say that criminals won’t comply. They’re right. Yet that’s an important feature of these proposals.” He added, “It’s always good to see innovative public policy proposals.”

Golden State Gun Grab

The Golden State already imposes among the strictest gun control in the country. San Jose City Council one-upped it, unanimously passing an annual gun ownership tax and requiring all gun owners to acquire gun owner liability insurance. The tax proposal passed even though the tax amount hasn’t been decided.

San Jose residents bristled. “I strongly oppose more taxation on legal gun owners,” Sasha Sherman told the council. Another speaker added, “It [the proposal] puts a financial burden on a constitutional right, which is the right to bear arms.”

Mayor Liccardo recognized the financial impact the new tax, fees and insurance requirements may have on gun-owning residents. Mayor Liccardo dowplayed fines as “a couple dozen dollars,” and claimed insurance providers promised policy increases would be minimal.

Here’s the kicker; Anyone found to be out of compliance or with outstanding fines will have their firearms confiscated.

Mayor Liccardo knows this isn’t a crime prevention measure. He admitted it. “Crooks aren’t going to follow this law.”

Meanwhile, criminals breaking the law and committing firearm-related crimes cost the city upwards of $63 million. The city’s answer is to target those gun owners that follow the law.

What’s a Couple Dozen Dollars?

NSSF industry data revealed the average gun buyer in 2020 spent close to $600 on average for their firearm. San Jose gun owners are being forced to pay even more just to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right. It’s a dressed-up poll tax and it is absurd.

That’s the point for the San Jose City Council. The punitive tax doesn’t affect them. It’s about making the circumstances harder for people to practice the Second Amendment and another example of “enlightened elites” pushing their gun control on everyone else.

In San Jose, there’s a name for the rest: the “non ultra-wealthy.” That’s because San Jose has the highest concentration of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in America. Those with $30 million are in the club.

Court Challenges Assured

The ink didn’t dry on the San Jose gun owner tax when opponents lined up legal challenges. City leaders should’ve seen this outcome though as there is no shortage of failed attempts at similar schemes before.

Connecticut and Maryland both tried to pass similar legislation in 2013, but those proposals were withdrawn amid backlash. Gun control bastion New York also had a similar bill but it never made it out of legislative committee.

Additionally, critics of the tax-and-insurance scheme point out it’s a backdoor firearm registry since the city would know what firearms law-abiding gun owners own, not what guns criminals are using.

This is far from innovative. It’s a devious way to punish gun owners.


Matt Manda is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation

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  1. The government forcing citizens to pay a fee to exercise an enumerated right should be a non starter right out of the gate, anymore than requiring churchgoers to pay a fee, or to pay a poll tax, or to read a book.

    That this fascist jackass of a mayor thinks he can get away with this just shows how arrogant the government has become and how little regard there is for the Constitutional restrictions placed on it.

    Given how corrupt and political the courts have become Liccardo may get away with it.

    • Murdock v Penn, 319 US 105 (1943): “No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it and attach a fee to it.”

      • There’s the rub – It’s legal (as far as as the fascists are concerned) because the 2A isn’t a ‘right’, like freedom of assembly. No matter what ‘Heller’ said.

        Is there not a federal judge that can issue a stay on that ‘law’?

      • “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, (1943)
        “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)
        “A free man doesn’t ask permission to bear arms, he doesn’t have to.” – Thomas Jefferson
        If you need to lobby for your rights, you don’t understand what rights are, and you don’t have any.

      • The problem with all of these citations is simple. We all have “stuff”, including firearms. And none of us want to be completely bankrupted by our lovely Lawfare loving government to retain our right that they want to make a privilege. Simply put, the cost to the state is less than the cost to the citizen.

        We hope, pray, etc, that the government just won’t come after us when we, hypothetically, ignore the law.

        We count on groups like the 2nd amendment foundation, NRA (chuckle), and the like, to defend us.

        The left are not hobbled by these problems, as they dont have “stuff”. So when they ignore the law, they lose nothing. The courts dont even prosecute them, as the cost to the state exceeds the cost to the citizen.

        As long as that paradigm, is the case, our side is at a significant disadvantage.

  2. Maybe a law that removes politicians for proposing and or passing an unconstitutional mandate or law should be removed and jailed for treason and civil rights violations.

    • Ed schrade,

      I appreciate your sentiment.

      Please note: your idea expects that government wants to do what is right when government wants to do what is wrong. I would not put much stock in that concept.

  3. At some point these politicians are going to have to be taught just what Cold Dead Hands really means. Sic Semper Tyrannis!

    • Either you’re glowing or you don’t realize how hard the system is going to come down on you. look at the people who took selfies inside the Capitol, and are now being tortured in Prison.

      Funny how nobody cares about the MPLS police stations that were destroyed.

      • I think we all understand that. Thats not the point. The point that even the soviets couldn’t keep a corrupt government going forever. Yes, they will become even more authoritarian as control slips from the federal state, back to the states. We all know that WILL happen.

        But we also know that the soviets fell, that corrupt regimes ALWAYS fall.

        • The Soviet Union didn’t fail because they were corrupt. They failed because they were no longer able to allocate capital. They went broke.

    • Rusty….you are correct. Politicians do not fear We The Little Peeps. They fear our guns, but not the Peeps because we have always acquiesced to their tyranny. However, regarding “Cold Dead Hands”, I lean toward Gen Patton’s admonishment pre-D-Day……“Now, I want you to remember that no son of a bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb son of a bitch die for his country.” Gen. George Patton, circa 1944.

  4. You ”poors” in San Diego will just have to suck it up. Your wealthy betters have spoken. You got $30000000 you can hire private security …commiefornia sux😕

    • Just remember, Commiefornia is a strip about 15-20 miles wide that runs up the coast of CA. The rest of the state is just a hostage.

  5. The fascist left has never been concerned with the poor except for how they can be exploited. And since it is easier to exploit the unarmed poor the left goes for gun control.

    Look who owns the fascist left. A group of billionaires. gates, bloomberg, zuckerberg and the rest. Are you delusional enough to think these fascists are concerned with the poors?

      • “If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”

        And now, it’s the Democrats who are the ‘rich’, while conservatives are the ‘poors’… 🙂

      • That’s also why the Left limits information that makes them look bad. Or as they call it misinformation. They only allow conspiracy theories that makes their opponents look bad, which they know are made up lies, like Russian collusion.

      • Nick Hanauer helped fund Washington’s UBC law and the ban on selling semi-automatic rifles to 18-20 year olds. There’s not one gun control scheme that he’s not willing to help finance. He’s a dick.

    • “Fascist left” is an oxymoron. Fascism was a right wing movement. Maybe you mean Marxist?

  6. “Here’s the kicker; Anyone found to be out of compliance or with outstanding fines will have their firearms confiscated.’

    So bury the combat commander and keep the hi-point in the house? I am thinking a cheap gun might be less than the insurance.

    • “I am thinking a cheap gun might be less than the insurance.”

      The conviction makes you a prohibited person…

    • How do you buy “insurance” that is not offered commercially?

      Ah, that is not a bug, it is a feature.

      Punishing gun owners is a common thing downunder but we don’t have anywhere near the rabid hoplophobic insanity of Kalifornia.

  7. Who wants to live in a snob filled shitshow like that anyway? Take your $30m and move to a real state

    • I live in CA because my family lives here.

      Also- we need to stop calling everything far left “fascist”. It makes us look uneducated. Fascism was a far right movement.

      • In actuality, the truly uneducated are the ones who parrot that revisionist falsehood.

        • Is Fascism communism? Marxism? Nationalism? Social conservatism?

          Is ANTIFA (anti- facist movement) a fascist movement? How educated do you need to be to consider anti-fascism to be fascism? Is the alt-right anti-fascist?

          These are not rhetorical questions.

          @drednicolson- I expect a response.

        • ryan. The fascist are the left these days. They think, talk and act as fascists of old did. Antifa are their brown shirts.

          Their actions put the lie to their claims that they are not fascists. The difference in the far left fascist and the alt right fascist is the same as the difference in the old school chinese communist and the russian communist.
          No real difference. But their leaders did not want to share power.

        • The official name of the Nazi party was National Socialists. Research their platform and policies (not just what the popular narrative focuses on). It’s difficult to find much appreciable difference from today’s socialism.

  8. This actually hurts middle-class white people the most. The point of this law is to harass white men, not reduce gun violence.

    It’s ok to not like something because it’s bad for white men. Not everything has to be “democrats are the real racists”. White people have interests. It’s ok to say that.

  9. Lets bring back the poll taxes now too, since we’re just going to go ahead and start taxing and gatekeeping fundamental enumerated rights.

  10. This is not innovative, nor ground breaking. It’s just democrats taking their original creation of a poll tax and applying it to a different right stated in the Constitution.

  11. Poll taxes were about $20 in 2021 dollars, and kept illiterate people for voting for carpetbaggers (like Leo Frank- oh wait don’t google that) for gibs. But hey- whoever wins the war writes history. Hope a gun blog would at least understand the plight of reconstruction south :/

    I would happily pay $20 to vote if meant we could keep our guns (NB: it would)!

    Oh wait- we’re pushing the Democrats are the real racists narrative again 🙁

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