San Jose has scheduled the final vote on unprecedented gun restrictions for next week.
File 22-045 would require gun owners to pay an annual tax and purchase firearm-specific liability insurance coverage. The ordinance, initially approved by the San Jose city council back in June, is now scheduled to go before the council once more for a final deciding vote on January 25.
The ordinances, if passed, would represent a first-of-its-kind gun-control regime. Beyond the unprecedented nature of mandatory firearm insurance, the law promotes confiscation of firearms for a low-level violation.
Critics of the law denounced it as a punitive measure against gun owners ahead of Tuesday’s city council vote.
“This is an attempt to punish law-abiding gun owners for owning a lawful product, by making them pay for the activities of criminals,” the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement Wednesday. “Taxing lawful ownership and requiring insurance will do nothing to reduce gun violence, which is often committed by repeat criminals who will not be paying the fees or obtaining insurance.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D.) has championed the ordinance and even celebrated its enforcement mechanism, which allows police to seize guns from those without insurance. He took to the editorial pages of the L.A. Times to reiterate his support and encourage the city council to vote it into law.
“Last June our City Council unanimously approved my proposals that will mitigate gun harm in our community — and a final vote on Jan. 25 should turn them into law,” Liccardo said in an L.A. Times Op-Ed on Wednesday.
He emphasized the policy would create a way to seize guns from those who remained uninsured, leading to fewer “dangerous” people possessing firearms.
“Critics say that criminals won’t obey insurance or fee mandates — and they are right,” Liccardo said. “But these ordinances create a legal mandate that gives police the means for at least the temporary forfeiture of guns from dangerous law-breakers.”
The text of the ordinance specifies that gun owners would have 30 days after the law goes into effect to obtain “a homeowner’s, renter’s or gun liability insurance policy from an admitted insurer… specifically covering losses or damages resulting from any negligent or accidental use of the Firearm.” Gun owners would be required to complete a city government attestation form about their insurance policy and provide proof they paid the annual fee on gun owners to comply with the rules. They would also be required to keep the form with their firearms wherever they are stored or transported.
The San Jose City Manager will be charged with deciding the compliance date and cost of the annual fee if the council passes the ordinance. The policy would include exemptions for law enforcement, low-income residents with government-approved waivers, and holders of concealed gun-carry permits.