San Jose becomes first city to require gun owners to pay for the costs of gun violence

San Jose will become the first city to require gun owners to pay for gun-related emergency responses.

Last week the San Jose City Council voted in the majority to draft an ordinance which would require gun owners not only to pay a fee to subsidize for related shootings but also purchase liability insurance. This drastic measure comes a month after a gunman in San Jose killed nine workers at a rail yard. While the ordinance is still a draft until September when the City Council comes together for a final vote, there are still questions about the fees.

Officials haven’t decided how much gun owners would be required to pay annually, but the amount would be determined following a gun harm study from the Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation, which is expected to be completed this fall (Yahoo). The study itself breaks down gun violence across the nation within the year of 2020 while also expanding on the cost it has on taxpayers.

The San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo, stated Wednesday that the fees would most likely be, “a couple dozen dollars” but would not charge those who can not afford it. When it came to liability insurance the Mayor was informed by insurers that, “gun coverage on their policies would add little or nothing to typical premium costs” (San Francisco Chronicle). The ordinance draft also includes a ban on “ghost guns” which are defined as guns assembled without a serial number, would require fingerprints to buy ammunition and lastly, would allow police officers to confiscate guns from gun owners who don’t comply with them.

Many pro-gun groups immediately stood up explaining how the ordinance is against the second amendment. “Both the insurance mandate and the fees violate the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” said the firearms Policy Coalition. They also said the fees would “put lawful access to firearms out of reach of poor and underprivileged individuals in high-crime neighborhoods” (MSN).

The San Jose Mayor was quick to follow up on the pro-gun groups. “Skeptics will say that criminals will not obey either of these mandates,” said Liccardo. “And they’re absolutely correct. Of course, they won’t. Crooks don’t follow the law. That’s an important feature of these proposals, not a defect, Together, these rules create a constitutionally compliant mechanism to enable law enforcement to impound guns from high-risk individuals unwilling to follow the law” (Fox News). 



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