The San Jose City Council voted unanimously last night to require gun owners to hold firearm insurance and pay an annual gun ownership fee. The California city is the first in the nation with such a law.
According to Mayor Sam Liccardo, gun insurance would be a way for shooting victims to be compensated and it would be at “little to no extra cost” for many. He said most gun owners would have the ability to take the firearm insurance onto their homeowner’s insurance.
“And that way we can ensure that victims are compensated where there’s an insurable event. And of course, insurance companies will help us make gun possession safer,” he told CBS San Francisco.
Liccardo wrote in an opinion piece for CNN that gun owners would have to pay a “modest fee” on an annual basis. What that “modest fee” actually is has yet to be determined. The goal, according to the mayor, is to prevent the city from footing the bill for mass shootings.
Tonight, City council unanimously approved our #GunViolence reduction initiatives, which included two first-of-their-kind proposals: mandatory gun insurance, and mandatory gun ownership fees. (1/3) https://t.co/WL5eJ8uJca
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) June 30, 2021
Second, we will require gun owners to pay a modest annual fee to compensate taxpayers for the cost of gun-related violence. Every day, our residents bear the financial burden for police officers who bravely respond to shootings, for ambulances that transport the wounded, and for trauma surgeons to save them. These direct costs of gun violence to California taxpayers — to say nothing of the costs to victims or their families — exceeded $1.4 billion in 2018, a sum equivalent to the entire General Fund budget of my city, America’s 10th largest.
Sam Paredes, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, is working with a number of other pro-gun groups to challenge the new law.
“I strongly believe that Mayor Sam Liccardo is trying to do things he has no authority to do,” Paredes told KPIX, citing pre-exemption laws.
“Without that, various communities could sponsor their own laws governing firearms acquisition, sales, use and storage, and all of that. And law abiding citizens from other parts of the state would be breaking the law just by passing through some of these communities,” Paredes told the outlet. “That’s why no other city has successfully done what the mayor is proposing to do.”
“It is, we believe, very strongly unconstitutional for the government to require law-abiding citizens who are doing nothing more than exercising their Second Amendment rights to be required to have insurance, or to be taxed, while they are exercising that enumerated right,” Paredes went on to say.
The news comes after the city council voted earlier this month to require FFLs to video and audio record all firearm transactions. FFLs are required to keep the video for a minimum of one month, KPIX-TV reported at the time.
In a shocking bit of candor, Liccardo admits these laws will not prevent criminals from breaking the law. They are intentionally targetting law-abiding gun owners.
As he wrote at cnn.com . . .
Skeptics will say that criminals won’t comply. They’re right; yet that’s an important feature of these proposals, not a defect. These ordinances create a legal mandate that provides police with a lawful means for seizing guns from non-law-abiding, dangerous people.
The response to every officer’s call for domestic violence in my city, for example, includes the question, “do you have any guns in the home?” If that gun owner lacks proof of payment or insurance, the police can seize the gun — and dramatically reduce the lethality of the risk to the victim. Of course, the benefits can be more widespread: the majority of mass shootings in the US victimize intimate partners or otherwise involve domestic violence.
The overwhelming majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens. We take the right to keep and bear arms seriously, but we also respect human life. No gun owner wants to have to utilize his or her weapon. No lawful gun owner purchases a firearm in hopes that one day he or she will need to use deadly force.
We own guns in case the need to protect ourselves or others arises. Because we’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.
Requiring gun insurance doesn’t somehow strengthen red flag laws. In fact, it has almost nothing to do with law enforcement’s ability to seize someone’s firearms. But having a so-called “small” yearly fee – the amount yet to be determined – is blatantly unconstitutional. No other enumerated civil right requires a fee in order to exercise it.
Maybe the worst part of this entire ordeal is, unless it’s blocked by the courts, gun owners in San Jose are literally going to have to pay the city to further implement due process-free red flag confiscations…in the name of “gun violence prevention.”
And you know Second Amendment supporters will comply… because we’re law-abiding and we follow the rules. Yet we’re treated as though we’re the ones committing crimes.