San Jose City Council Unanimously Passes Law To Require Gun Owners to Carry Liability Insurance

The San Jose City Council unanimously voted to require gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay fees to cover the cost of gun violence incurred by taxpayers, The Associated Press reports.

The city council voted on the measure after a rail yard worker shot nine colleagues before killing himself last month.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said that gun owners who fail to comply with the new law should not have guns.

“We won’t magically end gun violence, but we will stop paying for it,” he said in a statement. "We can also better care for its victims, and reduce gun-related injuries and death through sensible interventions.”

It’s unclear how much the fees will cost but officials say they will be used to pay the cost of police response, ambulance transport, and medical expenses for gun violence victims.

The Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation estimated that San Jose spends about $63 million a year as a result of shootings.

How to enforce?

Though other cities have proposed similar measures, San Jose is the first in the country to enact it.

But enforcing the law remains a challenge.

Though the city tracks gun purchases, it does not have a gun registry and has no way to track gun owners.

“During our normal course of duty, if we come across a firearm we will ask the owner if they have insurance,” San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata told NBC Bay Area. “We are not going to go door to door inspecting guns to see if they have insurance.”

San Jose pushes more gun ordinances:

The new law is part of Liccardo’s 10-point proposal following the rail yard shooting.

The mayor proposed that all gun sellers record every sale on video, a ban on ghost guns, restrictions on assault-style weapons, and funding a gun buyback program.

Gun rights groups have already come out against the insurance and video requirements, vowing to challenge their constitutionality in court.

“Together these rules create a constitutionally compliant mechanism to enable law enforcement to impound guns from high-risk individuals unwilling to follow the law,” Liccardo vowed.


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