Gun confiscation is not off the table in San Jose, California.
On a podcast appearance with the L.A. Times Monday morning, Mayor Sam Liccardo reiterated his support for the city’s recently approved gun control ordinances. The ordinances will require gun owners to purchase liability insurance and pay an annual fee to cover the public costs of gun violence.
Noncompliance with these new ordinances would be grounds for confiscation, according to Liccardo.
“We didn’t want to criminalize the failure to get insurance,” Liccardo said. “But there would be fines and there would be the ability for, most importantly I think, the police to seize guns.”
He said that if a person encountered police and it was determined that they possessed an uninsured gun, the new law “provides an easy mechanism to get an unsafe gun out of unsafe hands.” Liccardo went on to call this “the best benefit” of the insurance mandate approach.
Liccardo’s remarks were similar to those he gave back in June when the ordinances were first approved by the San Jose City Council. The measures were introduced in response to a shooting by a disgruntled employee at a San Jose light rail yard that claimed the lives of ten people, including the shooter.
The mayor said he hopes the firearm liability insurance mandate will be used to help compensate victims of gun violence and that it will encourage safer practices among gun owners. He claimed this type of insurance is already widely available. “Many homeowners and renters already have a policy that includes it, and if you don’t have it you can usually get a rider for next to nothing,” he said.
In terms of the fee “the goal is simply to compensate taxpayers,” Liccardo said. “Certainly the Second Amendment protects everyone’s right to own a gun, but it doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership.” The annual fee amount has not yet been determined.
News of the measures was met with immediate resistance from gun-rights organizations, who see the ordinances as unconstitutional. The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has already said it will be ready to sue the city when the measures pass. “The FPC has already directed litigation counsel to take any and all actions they see fit to protect the rights and property of San Jose residents, visitors and our members,” FPC President Brandon Combs told San José Spotlight earlier this July.
The completed drafts of the ordinances are expected to go before the city council for a final vote this September.