Citing the mass shooting which left nine people dead at the San Jose, California, Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard two weeks ago, the city’s Democratic mayor, Sam Liccardo, has proposed measures that would require citizens who own guns to buy mandatory gun owners’ insurance and to pay an annual fee.
Liccardo spoke to reporters on Tuesday from the memorial set up at City Hall to honor the victims of the shooting. He said, “With council approval San Jose would become the first city in the United States to require every gun owner to have liability insurance coverage for their firearms. Second, San Jose would become the first U.S. city to require gun owners to pay a fee to compensate taxpayers for the public cost of responding to gun violence,” according to KPIX 5.
“And that way we can ensure that victims are compensated where there’s an insurable event,” Liccardo told those gathered. “And of course, insurance companies will help us make gun possession safer.”
The mayor did not specify the amount of the fee, but said he was working with a “team of experts” to determine what the right amount would be.
“We are cognizant, as the Second Amendment dictates, so that we will not be imposing fees that are so great as to be prohibitive to ownership. We want a fee that will compensate taxpayers for the cost of everything from emergency rooms to police response,” he added.
KPIX reports that there are several other proposals under consideration as well. These include:
Ghost Guns: San Jose would implement an ordinance to tighten loopholes in state law.
Video and audio recording of gun purchases: to reduce “straw purchases” where one party buys a firearm for another.
Gun Violence Restraining Orders: Public education campaign, and improved law enforcement training, and sponsoring state legislation.
“Looking Out for One Another”: Create a public campaign for community-based, crowd-sourced reporting of implied or explicit threats of violence.
Sam Paredes, Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, told KPIX that if Liccardo’s proposals are passed by the City Council, he will work with a coalition of gun rights supporters to fight it through the courts. He said, “I strongly believe that Mayor Sam Liccardo is trying to do things he has no authority to do.”
Paredes also noted that California has preemption laws in place to stop local governments from passing their own firearm laws.
The Giffords Law Center explains that “’Preemption’ occurs when a higher level of government [the state of California] removes regulatory power from a lower level of government [San Jose in this case].”
Paredes told KPIX, “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. 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,” he said.
The report said these measures will be presented to the Rules Committee next week. If they are approved by the Committee, “Liccardo’s proposal could move towards consideration before the full San Jose City Council before the end of June.”
KPIX noted that this is the second time Liccardo has put forward this proposal. The first occasion followed a shooting which killed three and wounded 17 people at the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival.
What this move boils down to is that Liccardo is trying to force San Jose residents to pay to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It doesn’t say that if the mayor so chooses, he may force his constituents to pay for the privilege of exercising this right.
Gun owners in San Jose are right to be concerned about Liccardo’s proposal. They are not felons who have lost their right to gun ownership.
This is an example of government overreach. It is a power grab that amounts to tyranny.
Liccardo is putting his personal agenda before his constituents’ Constitutional freedoms.
In addition to this measure’s unconstitutionality, it is a nonstarter due to California’s preemption laws.
This mayor doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. He does not have the authority to enforce these measures. And if the San Jose City Council passes this stupidity, they will soon find that out.