6. Unconstitutional Tax
San Jose refers to the new fee imposed on gun owners as a “Gun Harm Reduction Fee,” but it’s nothing less than an unconstitutional tax on the exercise of an enumerated right.
The Supreme Court has struck down similar laws, reasoning that “a state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal Constitution.”
This is precisely what San Jose’s fee does—require gun owners to pay an annual sum of money to exercise their Second Amendment rights inside the city.
7. Misplaced Blame
Lawful gun owners aren’t the driving force behind gun violence, and yet San Jose has singled them out to pay for gun violence.
Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be saddled with the blame (or the bill) for criminal actions they didn’t commit, encourage, or facilitate.
8. Legitimate Solutions Ignored
If San Jose officials are serious about reducing gun violence and lowering associated financial costs, there are plenty of better solutions.
The city could focus its energy on enforcing existing gun laws—perhaps, for example, by disarming its share of the 23,000 Californians who state authorities know possess guns despite being prohibited persons.
It could make these unlawful gun owners and others who commit gun crimes pay by imposing fees and restitution to the state as part of criminal sentencing.
The city also could increase the size of its police force to deal with chronic understaffing and workload problems that inhibit officers’ ability to enforce the law.
Instead of opting for these rational and straightforward steps, however, the city apparently has defaulted to what’s become an all-too-common tactic in gun control politics—passing unserious laws that burden lawful gun ownership without addressing any of the real problems.