San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times this week to explain how his city’s slate of new anti-gun ordinances, set to become law at a January 25 city council meeting, will reduce violence.
“My city’s new gun control laws will help more than waiting on Congress to do something,” he proclaims in the title of the editorial.
Those new laws include requiring gun owners in the city to purchase liability insurance and pay an annual fee to fund “violence-reduction initiatives.” No other jurisdiction has passed such measures.
“Requiring every gun owner in my city to carry liability insurance will better compensate unintentional shooting victims and their families for medical and related expenses. More importantly, insurance can also incentivize safer gun ownership,” Liccardo claims. “Risk-adjusted premiums will encourage owners to take gun-safety courses, use gun safes or install child-safe trigger locks to reduce the annual toll of accidental gun harm.”
Will the criminals responsible for the city’s rising rates of violent crime purchase insurance and pay a fee? Liccardo admits that they won’t, but he believes his city’s new laws will still help.
“These ordinances create a legal mandate that gives police the means for at least the temporary forfeiture of guns from dangerous law-breakers,” he says. “Giving the police the ability to distinguish the scofflaws from the law-abiding among gun owners will have tremendous public safety benefits.”
It’s unclear how either of these new ordinances will give police this supposedly new ability, and Liccardo does not elaborate.
As for the annual gun owner fee, Liccardo dismissed the idea that such a fee infringes on Second Amendment rights.
“To be sure, the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of citizens to own guns, but it doesn’t require the public to subsidize gun ownership,” he says. “Every day, taxpayers bear the financial burden of police officers, ambulances and trauma surgeons responding to gun violence. These direct costs of gun violence total $40 million annually for San Jose taxpayers, and $1.4 billion for taxpayers statewide.”
Liccardo assumes, of course, that guns—rather than criminals—are responsible for this violence. Otherwise, presumably, he’d force those criminals to pay an annual “crime fee” rather than law-abiding gun owners.
SEE ALSO: San Jose City Leaders Approve Gun Control Agenda: Video-Recorded Gun Sales, Liability Insurance, Buyers’ Fees & More
Technically, the city council still has to vote to pass these new ordinances. But the council unanimously approved Liccardo’s proposals last June, so it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the measures will pass.
Still, the NRA-ILA is calling on San Jose residents to push back.
“This is an attempt to punish law-abiding gun owners for owning a lawful product, by making them pay for the activities of criminals,” the gun rights organization points out on its website. “Taxing lawful ownership and requiring insurance will do nothing to reduce gun violence, which is often committed by repeat criminals who will not be paying the fees or obtaining insurance. It simply increases the cost for law-abiding citizens to exercise a constitutional right.”
Click here to contact the San Jose city council.