San Jose ordinance would require gun owners to carry insurance for weapons

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 12: People participate in a demonstration and news conference against illegal guns in front of the Jacob Javits Federal Building on August 12, 2019 in New York City. The event, a “Call to Action to Stop the Flow of Illegal Guns,” included victims of gun violence along with federal, state and city officials. Despite the recent spate of mass shootings in America, most homicides occur in urban areas with many committed with guns purchased from unlicensed sellers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE (KRON) — San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Councilmember Raul Peralez filed and released an ordinance to reduce gun violence and fund efforts to end gun violence.

The proposed city ordinance would require all firearm owners in San Jose to carry liability insurance for their weapons, making it the first such requirement in the United States.

Gun owners unable to purchase the insurance could pay a fee to compensate taxpayers for the public costs of gun violence in San Jose.

“Gun violence comes at the cost of human lives,” Councilmember Peralez said. “Leaving behind tolls of sadness, grief and uneasiness in communities. The city of San Jose is stepping up and taking the initiative to begin gun control reform at a local level.”

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 20: Students take part in a rally for National School Walkout Day to protest school violence on April 20, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Students from around the nation joined in the walkout against gun violence on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School where 13 people were killed. (Photo by Jim Young/Getty Images)

San Jose families lost two children in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting that killed three and injured more than a dozen.

Two weeks after the tragedy, Mayor Liccardo said it was time to take action.

“A mayor doesn’t have the luxury of just offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ — we have to solve problems,” he said. “While this is far from a complete solution, it is something we can do to reduce the harms of firearms, without waiting for Congress to take action.”

Liccardo added that the second amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, but doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize that individual choice.

The mayor and his colleagues compared the ordinance to the successful “harm reduction” strategies that have dramatically help lower smoking rates and deaths and injuries from car accidents.

“We require motorists to carry automobile insurance, and the insurance industry appropriately encourages and rewards safe driver behavior,” Liccardo and his council said. “We tax tobacco consumption both to discourage risky behavior and to make sure non-smokers are not forced to subsidize the substantial public health costs generated by smoking-related illnesses and deaths. These successful public health models inspire a similar ‘harm-reduction’ approach for firearms.”

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 20: Students take part in a rally for National School Walkout Day to protest school violence on April 20, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Students from around the nation joined in the walkout against gun violence on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School where 13 people were killed. (Photo by Jim Young/Getty Images)

The colleagues have also proposed different ideas related to the matter.

One of those ideas include imposing gun and ammunition sales tax to help fund gun safety classes, gun violence prevention programs and additional victim assistance services for gun violence survivors.

Another idea is to create a program that would offer cash rewards to anyone who reports a person illegally obtaining a gun or weapon.

California Assemblymember David Chiu said he applauds Liccardo and the San Jose council.

“Since Trump and his Republican allies have abdicated their responsibility to address our country’s gun violence crisis, cities and states must lead, he said. “I applaud Mayor Liccardo and San Jose’s bold leadership on this innovative solution.”

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