San Jose Gun-Control Plans Spell Trouble for Gun Owners

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posted on June 27, 2021
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Anthony Quintano courtesy Flickr

It used to be popular to say, “So goes California, so goes the nation.” These gun-control proposals out of San Jose, Calif., are examples of why people no longer use that saying.

The mayor of San Jose actually has a very long wish list of gun-control regulations he wants enacted, which includes requiring gun owners to buy liability insurance.

While the insurance mandate won’t be considered until this fall, the San Jose City Council did recently give Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) one item on his gun-control wish list that is very Orwellian: a mandate that all firearm purchases be video and audio recorded!

The new law requires gun retailers within city limits to record all firearms purchases with audio and video. It also requires that these records be kept for 30 days. As explained by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “Licensed firearm dealers are already heavily regulated, with California having some of the most stringent laws, on top of existing federal laws and regulations.” They also stated, “The proposed ordinance will only add to the complexity and cost of operating a small business, which will, in turn, be passed on to consumers. Criminals will continue to bypass lawful channels and will benefit from California's soft-on-crime approach.”

While commenting on the mayor’s liability insurance proposal, NRA-ILA noted it “is an attempt to punish law-abiding gun owners for owning a lawful product by making them pay for the activities of criminals. Taxing lawful ownership and requiring insurance will do nothing to reduce violence, which is often committed by repeat criminals who will not be paying the fees or obtaining insurance. It simply increases the cost for law-abiding citizens to exercise a constitutional right.”

Mandating liability insurance for gun owners isn’t a new idea. It has been introduced about two dozen times in various state legislatures across the country, unsuccessfully. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), firearms liability insurance schemes have also made at least two appearances at the federal level, most recently in Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-Texas) H.R. 127, which was introduced earlier this year. A laundry list of gun-controller ideas meant to gut the Second Amendment, H.R. 127 includes a requirement that all gun owners would have to pay an $800 annual “tax” to the federal government as a form of liability insurance.

As the NSSF noted, gun-liability insurance proponents claim that their idea would “provide insurance for victims of ‘gun violence.’”

However, while accidents involving firearms are already covered under most people’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies, it is unlikely any insurance company is going to offer a policy to cover “gun violence.” And, even if such polices existed, does anyone seriously believe that criminals—the ones who would be preforming the “gun violence”—would be in the market for liability insurance?

Mandating liability insurance for law-abiding gun owners when liability policies do not exist and is not needed sure sounds like yet another backdoor form of gun control. Hopefully, the San Jose City Council will recognize this end run for what it is and reject Mayor Liccardo’s misguided notion.

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