Gun owners in San Jose, California, may soon be required to implement liability insurance and pay annual fees for suicide prevention and other safety programs aimed at reducing gun violence.
Members of the San Jose City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the gun ordinance on Tuesday night. If the measure is passed again after a second reading next month, as is expected, the charges imposed on the roughly 50,000 gun-owning households in the city of more than a million residents could have an effect. force in August.
City officials say an annual “harm reduction fee” of about $25 will be charged to nonprofits that support the implementation of programs that reduce forms of gun violence such as gun violence. suicide and domestic violence, as well as providing training in gun safety, mental health counseling, and addiction treatment.
The ordinance says no money collected will be paid to lawsuits, political lobbying or lobbying.
City officials say the annual harm reduction and insurance requirement for gun owners will be the first of its kind in the country.
Guns and Gun Control in America
“We are the urban center of Silicon Valley,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an interview Wednesday. “And the spirit of Silicon Valley recognizes the importance and urgency of innovation in the face of tough challenges.”
Imposing fees and taxes on gun owners is not a new concept. ONE federal tax About guns and ammunition have been in the books for decades. Countries that require gun owners to have a license may already charge a fee to apply or renew that paperwork. Those fees can range from $25 in Texas for Retired Judges and Honorably Discharged Veterans arrive about $340 for a handgun renewal registration fee in New York City.
“It is certainly not unheard of for recurrent charges associated with gun ownership and possession,” said Billy Rosen, executive director of state policy and government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety. . “But the specific mechanism of this may be unique,” he said. “We’ll be eagerly watching to see how this plays out.”
San Jose officials say it’s new to mandate liability insurance, similar to auto insurance, and seek a fee to offset the city’s services aimed at serving people directly affected by gun violence.
Opponents have voiced a series of objections, calling annual fees and insurance claims an unfair burden on gun owners, an ineffective tool against gun crime and violations of constitutional rights. France.
“If upheld,” the National Gun Rights Association said in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California“The City of San Jose’s ordinance will strike at the core of a fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms and defend one’s home.”
A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, Amy Hunter, called the ordinance “a ludicrous publicity stunt that would not affect public safety.” In a statement, Ms. Hunter also said liability insurance “will never cover offenses and lawbreakers who have been held legally responsible through our justice system.” “
Mr Liccardo acknowledged that “this is usually standard coverage” but said delegating it would help ensure that all policies cover that coverage.
Liability coverage would cover “loss or damage resulting from any negligent or accidental use” of the firearm, including “death, bodily injury or property damage,” the ordinance reads. .
If a firearm is lost or stolen, the owner of the firearm will also be held liable until the loss or theft is reported to police, according to the ordinance.
During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, Liccardo said the ordinance is intended to limit preventable forms of gun harm. “It’s easy to say that this won’t stop a crook who is intent on killing someone. Well,” he added, “I challenge anyone to suddenly, create an ordinance that will magically have that will. It does not exist. ”
Gun violence, especially forms of suicide and accidental shooting injuries, is more common among people who live in homes where guns are stored, he said.
And San Jose taxpayers — many of whom don’t own guns — have paid police, hospitals and emergency services to deal with those forms of gun violence, mayor says. . San Jose taxpayers “subsidize a gun ownership of $151 per year per household that owns a gun,” Liccardo’s office said, citing research of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation says the city spends at least $7.9 million a year responding to gun injuries.
So, Liccardo argues, it makes sense to attract dedicated funding from gun owners for city services.
“Ironically,” he said Wednesday, “the beneficiaries will be many of the members of the organizations that will participate in suing the city.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/us/gun-owners-san-jose-insurance.html San Jose moves to require gun owners to have insurance and pay an annual fee