SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The San Jose City Council passed a proposed ordinance on Tuesday night that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance for each gun.
The council split the motion into two items: The insurance liability requirement item vote and the $25 fee vote.
The first item passed with only one no vote, and the second passed with three no votes.
To critics who say this only penalizes law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals, Councilman David Cohen said there is much more gun violence than mass shootings and homicides, citing a majority of deaths in Santa Clara County were accidental shootings and suicides.
He believes this ordinance would reinforce responsible gun ownership.
The ordinance would require gun owners to carry liability insurance for each gun and pay an annual $25 fee.
Mayor Sam Liccardo explained the money collected, an estimated $1.3 million, would go to non-profits who help with gun harm reduction services who would decide how it’s used.
The mayor assured that there would be no public list of gun owners and that a registry would only be available to the department of justice.
Opponents argue there should be no fee for a constitutional right and if existing gun laws were just enforced crime down go down.
Another point of contention is what type of coverage insurance companies would provide. Critics say gun owners already have access to accident insurance and the mayor and Councilmember Maya Esparza shared conflicting information from insurance companies their teams surveyed on whether negligent shootings within the home of the insured would be covered.
Mayor Liccardo explained if a person has contact with police and they ask or find that they have a gun, the gun owner would show a receipt from the non-profit to verify payment.
If a person can’t afford the $25, they would apply for a waiver.
The second reading for this ordinance will be on February 8, it will become effective on August 8.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo released the following statement:
“Tonight San José became the first city in the United States to enact an ordinance to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and to invest funds generated from fees paid by gun owners into evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm. Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing gun violence and its devastation in our community. I am deeply grateful also to our advocacy and legal partners with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, EveryTown, Moms Demand Action, SAFE, the Gifford Law Alliance and many others who work tirelessly to help us craft a constitutionally compliant path to mitigate the unnecessary suffering from gun harm in our community. I look forward to supporting the efforts of others to replicate these initiatives across the nation.”