January 26, 2022

If you've been reading my work for a while, you know I've been pushing this policy for years. So I'm happy to see that San Jose firearm owners will soon be required to get liability insurance. Via San Jose Mercury-News:

In two separate votes, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday night passed a first-of-its-kind ordinance requiring residents who own a gun to carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee aimed at reducing gun violence — a divisive move that is sure to set off a series of legal challenges.

Councilwoman Dev Davis dissented on both items, saying that she believed the measures would be ineffective and might even be unconstitutional. Councilmembers Matt Mahan and Pam Foley voted against the fees, voicing concerns about the management structure.

Proponents like Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged that the two-pronged ordinance will not affect residents who unlawfully own guns. However, they argue that it will incentivize safer gun ownership, reduce the public cost of gun violence and provide resources and services for residents who are most affected by the use of guns — those who own a firearm or live in a home or are in a relationship with someone who does.

Liccardo proposed the ordinance three years ago after a mass shooting at a local garlic festival.

The new ordinance, which is set to take effect in August, requires that all San Jose residents who own a gun obtain a homeowner’s, renter’s or gun liability insurance policy that specifically covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm.

Additionally, gun owners will be asked to pay an annual fee of between $25-$35 to a nonprofit organization that will be established to manage the funds and distribute them to groups who will offer various services to residents who own a firearm or live with someone who does. Those services will include suicide prevention programs, gender-based violence services, mental health and addiction services, and firearm safety training, according to the city’s ordinance.

Gee, maybe at least some parents will think twice about the high cost of leaving loaded guns around the house where children can get them.

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