U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Writing in the Los Angeles Times, San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo is reminding Californians the San Jose City Council is scheduled to vote Jan. 25 on two proposals he offered last summer that are sure to raise hackles, mandatory liability insurance and “the payment of annual fees to fund violence-reduction initiatives.”
“We anticipate that a barrage of lawsuits from the firearm industry and gun rights advocates will follow,” Liccardo admits in his second paragraph.
Liccardo, a Democrat, says San Jose has 1 million residents. Last year, according to KRON News, there were 31 “confirmed homicides” in the city.
Up the coast several hundred miles, Portland, Oregon with a population of 656,000, reported a record-breaking 90 slayings in 2021, according to Willamette Week, yet nobody there is proposing an insurance mandate, at least not yet.
And farther north, Seattle, Washington reported 43 homicides last year, according to Seattle Homicides, with a population of 724,305.
“Requiring every gun owner in my city to carry liability insurance will better compensate unintentional shooting victims and their families for medical and related expenses,” Liccardo reasons in his Op-ed. “Imposing a modest annual fee on gun owners can support underfunded domestic violence and suicide prevention programs, gun-safety classes, mental health services and addiction intervention.”
It is not clear how much the fee will be, but Liccardo appears to be setting up the city for an expensive future in court, and not just in state courts, but in the federal court, since his plan may constitute placing a tax on the exercise of a constitutionally-protected fundamental right.
Also, the liability insurance mandate may face legal challenges as well.
“To be sure,” Liccardo says with some condescension, “the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of citizens to own guns, but it doesn’t require the public to subsidize gun ownership.”
Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it say people who do not commit crimes must be held financially responsible for the criminal acts of others, either. Last summer, Liccardo told the San Jose Mercury News, “We need a mechanism that will both compensate injured victims and take some of the burden off of taxpayers.”
But the question remains: Why should law-abiding gun owners be financially penalized for crimes they didn’t commit?
Deep in the 791-word Op-ed, Liccardo acknowledges, “Critics say that criminals won’t obey insurance or fee mandates — and they are right. But these ordinances create a legal mandate that gives police the means for at least the temporary forfeiture of guns from dangerous law-breakers.”
“Dangerous law-breakers” are routinely disarmed anyway, under existing statute, but critics of Liccardo’s gun control scheme could point to any number of individuals who quickly re-arm once they bail out of jail. At least the mayor also admits, “These new laws won’t end all gun violence.”
This has become the standard operating caveat of any recent gun control crusade: “It won’t solve all of the problems.” Gun rights activists contend it won’t solve any of the problems.
As reported last summer by KNTV News, San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata explained, “During our normal course of duty, if we come across a firearm we will ask the owner if they have insurance. We are not going to go door to door inspecting guns to see if they have insurance.”
The report noted at least one person speaking at a hearing on the matter said mandatory liability insurance “puts a financial burden on a constitutional right.” Translation: Liccardo’s plan penalizes the wrong people.
When the San Jose Mercury News covered the issue back in July 2021, the newspaper noted, “Failure to comply with the ordinance would constitute a civil violation rather than a criminal offense.” However, police officers could confiscate firearms from people who cannot provide proof of insurance, and they could be fined. Furthermore, according to the newspaper, “Refusal to hand over firearms upon a request from police could result in a misdemeanor charge.”
This all began back in 2019 following the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. But that crime, which took three lives, was committed by Santino William Legan, 19, who bought the gun legally in Fallon, Nevada. The gun, a variation of the AK-47, is prohibited in California, but that didn’t prevent the killer from travelling across the border to launch his deadly attack.
Liccardo wraps up his Op-Ed admitting “these laws are no panacea.”
The measures will, if adopted as anticipated, almost certainly be challenged in court.
About Dave Workman