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CA city forcing gun owners to buy liability insurance, pay annual fee

Team Scott members attend the grand opening of the Army and Air Force Exchange Services new gun counter on Scott Air Force, Il., Feb. 28, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
January 26, 2022

Gun owners in San Jose, California, will now have to carry liability insurance and pay a yearly fee in what Second Amendment advocates are calling a violation of their Constitutional rights.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council approved a new measure requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee despite pushback from pro-gun advocates who vowed to sue over the new rule, CBS News reported.

“Tonight San Jose became the first city in the United States to enact an ordinance to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and to invest funds generated from fees paid by gun owners into evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Liccardo said he supported the first-of-its-kind law because it would encourage the city’s over 50,000 gun owners to purchase gun safes, install trigger locks and enroll in gun safety classes.

“This won’t stop mass shootings and keep bad people from committing violent crime,” Liccardo said, but said he supports the measure because the majority of gun deaths nationwide are from suicide, accidental shootings or homicides driven by domestic violence.

The ordinance states that the liability insurance will specifically cover “losses or damages resulting from any negligent or accidental use of the Firearm, including but not limited to death, injury or property damage.”

Gun owners who violate the new law will not face criminal charges and won’t have their firearms seized, but they will be subjected to fines.

The council also voted in favor of a yearly gun ownership fee of $25, which would be collected by a nonprofit that has not been chosen yet. The money would then be distributed to community groups for firearm safety training and suicide prevention, as well as domestic violence and mental health services.

Within hours of the new measure’s passage, The National Association for Gun Rights and gun owner Mark Sikes sued San Jose in federal court.

“The law is unconstitutional,” attorney Harmeet Dhillon said on Wednesday, as reported by The Associated Press. “The law compels people to purchase insurance that doesn’t necessarily exist and that demonstrates that this law is not a good faith attempt to do anything other than ban or burden the lawful possession of guns.”

Last year, San Jose City Council also unanimously passed an ordinance requiring firearm retailers to video record all gun purchases.

“The sale or transfer of a Firearm or of Firearm Ammunition to persons who are not sworn peace officers shall be recorded by the video surveillance system in such a way that the facial features of the purchaser or transferee are clearly visible,” the ordinance stated.