San Jose passes landmark law requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance. Cue the outrage



The Associated Press, via ABC7-TV, San Francisco:

Other similar laws have been proposed but San Jose would be the first city in the country to pass one, according to Brady United, a national nonprofit that advocates against gun violence.

The now-passed ordinance is part of a broad gun control plan that [San Jose Mayor Sam] Liccardo announced following the May 26 mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority rail yard that left nine people dead, including the employee who opened fire on his colleagues then killed himself.

Having liability insurance would encourage people in the 5,500 households in San Jose who legally own at least one registered gun to have gun safes, install trigger locks and take gun safety classes, Liccardo said.

“San Jose has an opportunity to become a model for the rest of the nation to invest in proven strategies to reduce gun violence, domestic violence and suicide, and the many other preventable harms from firearms in our communities,” Mayor Liccardo stated during a Monday news conference before the law was passed.

Liccardo estimated that gun violence costs San Jose residents about $442 million each year. “Certainly, the Second Amendment protects every citizen’s right to own a gun. It does not require taxpayers to subsidize that right,” he noted at the press conference.

Gun rights groups predictably freaked out.

“Since San Jose’s recalcitrant City Council members don’t believe that the United States Constitution applies to them or their citizens, Firearms Policy Coalition and our members are now committed to fight the City’s outrageous and offensive policies in federal litigation and take every possible action to block their enforcement,” the Firearms Policy Coalition said in a statement.

And, naturally, the lawsuits are about to fly faster than bullets at a Texas Chuck E. Cheese.


“We’ve opposed this ordinance every step of the way and we will see this through to the end,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights and executive director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, told CNN in a statement before the vote.

“If the San Jose City Council actually votes to impose this ridiculous tax on the Constitutional right to gun ownership, our message is clear and simple: see you in court,” Brown said.

The National Foundation for Gun Rights in July sent a cease-and-desist letter to Liccardo and the council’s 10 members stating it intends to file suit as soon as the ordinance is passed.

Oh, my God! My right to carry a lethal weapon is being infringed if I’m asked to do so with a bare minimum of care or responsibility! I should be able to saunter into Costco bristling with ordnance anytime I want—for free! Bet I can haggle that hot dog combo price down from $1.50 to a buck.

Gun rights groups have long made a lot of hay out of their intentional misreading of the Constitution, but it’s hard to explain why the owners of cars—which are involved in fewer annual deaths than firearms—are forced to carry liability insurance when gun owners are not.

Well, it would be hard for a citizen of another country to explain, anyway. Here, the answer is as plain as the nose blown off Dick Cheney’s friend’s face: Big Guns spends Big Money to keep things deadly.


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