San Jose to Become First City to Require Gun Owners to Get Liability Insurance and Pay Annual Fee

San Jose is set to become the first city to require all gun owners to carry liability insurance, CBS News reports.

The San Jose City Council voted on Tuesday to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance and pay an annual fee.

The liability insurance would cover losses or damages resulting from accidental gun use, including death, injury, or property damage. The owner would also be considered liable if the gun is stolen and the theft is not reported.

The bill also requires gun owners to pay a $25 annual fee which would be used for gun safety education, suicide prevention, domestic violence, and mental health services.

Will it work?

It’s unclear whether any insurer would actually offer such insurance. Officials say the insurance can be purchased through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and would cover everyone in the household.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he hopes the new requirement will encourage residents to install gun safes and trigger locks and take gun safety courses.

The new ordinance is part of a larger crackdown on guns after a mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority rail yard killed nine people.

"This won't stop mass shootings and keep bad people from committing violent crime," Liccardo acknowledged but said it would prevent deaths from suicide, accidental shootings, and domestic violence.

Gun group sues:

The National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the new law.

The lawsuit argues that the provision is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue financial burden for those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

“San Jose’s imposition of a tax, fee, or other arbitrary cost on gun ownership is intended to suppress gun ownership without furthering any government interest,” the lawsuit reads. “In fact, the penalties for nonpayment of the insurance and fees include seizure of the citizen’s gun. The Ordinance is, therefore, patently unconstitutional.”


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