San Jose gun owners to be fined up to $1,000 for breaking new firearm law

“A $1,000 fine for simply exercising your God-given right to keep and bear arms unless you bow down, buy insurance, and kiss their ring is simply atrocious,” said one opponent about the city’s new rules

San Jose’s new gun control law just got a bit stricter.

Gun owners in the nation’s 10th largest city who disobey a requirement to carry liability insurance and pay a yearly fee will have to fork over up to $1,000 in fines as part of San Jose’s unique and controversial push to combat gun violence — a novel legislative approach that has triggered a challenge in federal court and has 2nd Amendment supporters up in arms.

The insurance and fee requirements — first approved by council members in January — make San Jose the first city in America to impose such rules against gun owners.

Proponents of the new mandate, championed by Mayor Sam Liccardo since 2019, argue that it will motivate safer gun handling and help counter the public cost of gun violence, which health officials found in a May report amounts to $72 million a year for Santa Clara County.

But opponents, who filed a lawsuit against the requirements moments after the council passed them in January, argue that the rules are unconstitutional, burdensome and that the city hasn’t proven they will prevent gun violence. Plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuit are the Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights, the state’s Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and San Jose resident Mark Sikes.

The new fines approved Tuesday by the San Jose City Council brought a scathing response from the gun rights association.

“San Jose is hell-bent on disarming law-abiding gun owners anyway possible, at least as far as they can get away with in the courts,” wrote NAGR’s Policy Director Hannah Hill. “And a $1,000 fine for simply exercising your God-given right to keep and bear arms unless you bow down, buy insurance, and kiss their ring is simply atrocious.”

She added, “That’s why we’re suing to overturn this unconstitutional ordinance, and we look forward to rescuing law-abiding San Jose gun owners from these greedy, anti-gun council members.”

SAN JOSE, CA - January 26: Attorney Harmeet Dhillon speaks during a press conference at City Hall in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 26, 2022. National Association for Gun Rights and San Jose resident Mark Sikes filed a lawsuit against the City of San Jose's newly passed ordinance requiring San Jose residents to obtain firearm liability insurance and pay a fee. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE, CA – January 26: Attorney Harmeet Dhillon speaks during a press conference at City Hall in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 26, 2022. National Association for Gun Rights and San Jose resident Mark Sikes filed a lawsuit against the City of San Jose’s newly passed ordinance requiring San Jose residents to obtain firearm liability insurance and pay a fee. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

The penalties passed on Tuesday escalate for each offense. A gun owner’s first and second violation will cost them $250 and $500, respectively. A $1,000 fine will be levied against a third and any future infraction. The city’s police department will be in charge of enforcing the fines.

“City staff is moving forward with regulations needed to implement this first-in the-nation law to reduce gun deaths and injuries with a careful, balanced approach,” the mayor wrote in a statement. “I look forward to seeing this up and running next year.”

The mayor has been formulating the new gun rules ever since the mass shooting at the now-defunct Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019 — and pressure further mounted after a gunman massacred his fellow colleagues at a Valley Transportation Authority rail yard last year.

January’s Gun Harm Reduction Ordinance, which sparked national headlines amid rising concerns about gun violence across the country, requires firearm owners in the city to purchase a gun, homeowner’s or renter’s liability insurance policy which covers any damages as a result of negligent or accidental use.

The ordinance also mandates that gun owners pay a $25 fee every year to a nonprofit that will distribute funds to mental health and suicide prevention services for those who own a firearm or live with someone who does. The nonprofit is being set up by local health officials and academics will provide a bi-annual report on its work.

Researchers estimate that San Jose has between 50,000 and 55,000 gun owners, which would garner the nonprofit over $1 million a year.

Though the fines on Tuesday were approved by councilmembers unanimously on consent, January’s law was opposed by Councilmember Dev Davis. Councilmembers Pam Foley and Matt Mahan, a candidate for mayor running against County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, opposed the nonprofit fees.

Click here to read the full article at the Mercury News

Comments

  1. Boris Badenov says

    There is a very good chance that this Demoncrap wet dream will be found unconstitutional. Even the 9th Circus won’t go against the huge SCOTUS ruling. Bets??

    • Hope you are right.

      This is America; don’t mess with our 2A rights!

    • john Steele says

      It is unconstitutional and completely unenforceable. While their favorite MS 13 gangs play havoc and chaos in downtown san jose .. they pick on us.. To funny.. Middle finger to Da Mayor and his Puppet council.

  2. Stephanie Hart says

    I guess the mass shooters will all pay to get their guns insured. Liccardo has tax payer funded armed security.

  3. If the law suit was filed last January, there should have been some legal action beyond that in the nine months since then.

    Even with all its exceptions, this appears to be a clear violation of Prop 26 passed in 2010 that defines “fees” as “taxes” that must be a 2/3 vote of the public.

    Steve, follow-up with Harmeet for an update.

  4. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Wacko Socialists run this ‘City.’

  5. Brenda Torres says

    And I am sure that the Criminals who commit these crimes with ‘illegal’ guns will buy insurance to carry them….

  6. Are there any insurance companies that sell “gun liability insurance”????

  7. TheRandyGuy says

    “The police are in charge of enforcing the fines”, but who levies them? How will they know who firearm owners are? Police need a warrant to search a premesis. Are they going to go before a judge to obtain one, or will the fines simply show up in the mail? This will be struck down, tbe sooner the better.

  8. Homeowners’ and renters’ liability insurance ONLY covers accidental harm. Damage caused by weapons being used in the pursuance of a criminal act can never be insured. This and the requirement of a yearly fee sure sound like “infringements” to me. Typical reactive public policy: Punish the innocent … the evildoers are much more difficult to deal with.

  9. Howard Wilkerson says

    They are doing the same thing Hitler did. He disarmed the citizens for their own safety and then marched millions to the gas chambers when they no longer had the means to resist tyranny.

Speak Your Mind

*