Despite threats from gun rights groups of legal action, the San Jose City Council has approved a mandate that gun owners in the city obtain liability insurance and also pay an annual fee to the city, ostensibly to offset the costs of so-called “gun violence.”
Perhaps unintentionally, KGO News in San Francisco gave critics an argument to support threatened lawsuits. In its report, the ABC-affiliate noted, “the proposal does not address the massive problem of illegally obtained weapons that are stolen or purchased without background checks.”
Mayor Sam Liccardo has consistently argued, “The Second Amendment protects every citizen’s right to own and possess a gun. It does not mandate that taxpayers subsidize that right.”
As has been previously pointed out, the Second Amendment also does not mandate that law abiding gun owners be penalized for crimes they do not commit.
According to KGO, the head of Gun Owners of California—Executive Director Sam Paredes—called the new mandate “totally unconstitutional in any configuration.”
The California-based Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) promised to fight the new mandate, calling it “burdensome, unconstitutional, and prohibited by California law,” according to KGO. In a statement quoted by the media, the FPC vowed, “If San Jose adopts Mayor Liccardo’s outrageous and unconstitutional gun control proposals, we will not hesitate to challenge the city’s policies in federal litigation and take every possible action to block their enforcement.”
KNTV, the local NBC affiliate, is reporting the annual fee will be “roughly $25 a year as well as administrative costs to the city.”
If the FPC takes legal action as threatened, the group is likely to have plenty of company. Heavy legal hitters such as the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association could also weigh in.
The Washington Examiner estimated there may be as many as 50,000 legal gun owners in the city.
The ordinance could become law beginning in August, provided the council ratifies its vote during a February meeting.
NBC is touting the measure as “a first-of-its-kind gun harm ordinance.” Critics argue that government cannot tax the exercise of a constitutionally-protected fundamental right, which is essentially what the $25 fee constitutes.
Anti-gun San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says gun-related violent crime costs the city $40 million annually.