Even though San Jose has not yet released details of its proposed ordinance requiring legal firearm owners to pay for the cost of gun violence, a Second Amendment advocacy organization is already launching a campaign to stop it from taking effect.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights on Wednesday sent a cease-and-desist letter to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and the city’s ten city councilmembers formally threatening to sue them if they go through with enacting the legislation.
“Please be advised that should you pass the proposed ordinance and blatantly violate the constitutional rights of the residents of San Jose, my clients have authorized our firm to file a lawsuit against the City to protect the constitutional rights of their members,” San Francisco-based attorneys David A. Warrington and Harmeet K. Dhillon, who are representing the Foundation, wrote.
They go on to argue that the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional because it imposes a “discriminatory tax that singles out citizens exercising their constitutional rights” and “seeks to punish citizens of your city who have committed no crime or offense.”
The letter comes two weeks after San Jose approved plans to become the first U.S. city to adopt legislation mandating gun owners carry insurance and pay an annual fee and just two days after Liccardo traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with President Joe Biden and discuss ways to address a recent spike in gun violence across the country.
The San Jose City Council on June 29 unanimously voted to direct the city attorney to draft a new city ordinance that would require San Jose gun owners to obtain liability insurance and pay an annual fee to the city to subsidize expenses related to shootings, including police and ambulance responses, medical care and other municipal services. The city attorney is expected to bring the draft ordinance to the council in September for a final decision.
The city is still evaluating the exact dollar amount for the annual fee, but Liccardo stated earlier that he expected it to be no more than “a couple dozen dollars.”
San Jose’s plan to become first U.S. city to make firearm owners pay for gun violence — answers to all your questions
The city of San Jose and Liccardo, in particular, have received a great deal of attention since moving forward with plans to enact the ordinance.
Liccardo, who first proposed the legislation in 2019 after a mass shooting broke out at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, has long expected legal challenges to his plan. But the mayor and the city attorney remain confident that they will win such disputes.
“In the realm of sensible gun regulation, the gun industry and their lawyers ensure that no good deed goes unlitigated,” Liccardo said in a statement Wednesday. “I suppose that I should not be surprised that they have threatened to sue the City before they’ve even seen a single word in the ordinance.”
The National Foundation for Gun Rights said in a press release that it is exploring “all legal options” to oppose the imposition of any future ordinance that would impose fees or insurance on gun owners.
Dudley Brown, executive director of the Foundation, called the proposed legislation a “full-frontal assault on lawful gun owners by the gun control zealots running the city of San Jose.”
“The city brazenly admits in their own press release that the burden of extra insurance and fees will ONLY be on the law-abiding,” he said in a press release. “Punishing law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals is the kind of insane behavior (the foundation) has come to expect from bureaucrat gun control idiots like the ones that run San Jose.”
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