The Nation’s Petri Dish For Gun Control

posted on May 3, 2023
San Jose City Hall

California, the birthplace of banning semi-automatics they mislabel “assault weapons,” has long been considered a laboratory for oppressive and ineffective gun control. Here are just two experiments in cities within the Golden State that anti-gunners would like to see exported to the rest of the country, in a seemingly never-ending quest to eradicate the Second Amendment.

San Jose
Last year, San Jose imposed a requirement that gun owners pay an annual fee and have liability insurance coverage for firearm-related “death, injury, or property damage.” This is a blatant attempt to punish law-abiding gun owners for owning a lawful product by making them pay for the activities of criminals.

But for all the city’s insistence on the necessity of the ordinance and its supposed public-safety benefits, the one thing it can’t be bothered to do is try to enforce it. As firearm-related media outlet The Reload reported in March, city officials “have not attempted to enforce their novel requirement that gun owners buy specialized insurance.” Not only has the municipality failed to issue any citations for non-compliance among its tens of thousands of gun owners, but also “officials have no idea whether anyone has actually bought the insurance they’ve mandated.” And, according to the report, they’re not even trying: “the city has effectively thrown in the towel on trying to track who is complying with the requirement.”

The city’s bright idea to ensure compliance with its requirement to carry insurance that may not even be available is to publish a form for gun owners to complete, attesting to their compliance with the law. But even then, they do not need to file this form with any public official. Rather, gun owners should keep it with the gun itself, to be produced upon demand.

Meanwhile, the ordinance also imposes an annual “harm reduction” fee on gun owners, the proceeds of which are supposed to fund a non-profit entity working to reduce “gun violence.” Not only has that fee also gone unenforced, The Reload reported, but also the entity it will be used to support has yet to be identified.

To be clear, enforcement of San Jose’s ill-advised and unconstitutional ordinance would only compound the abuse of its original enactment. But even unenforced laws are not necessarily harmless. Indeed, the law-abiding gun owners of San Jose are still left with an untenable choice: ignore a law that could eventually carry penalties or expand their own resources to figure out a roadmap of compliance for themselves, when even local officials are unwilling to do so.

La Verne
Along similar lines, La Verne, Calif., hopes to discourage its residents from taking advantage of the constitutional right to bear arms by charging them a king’s ransom to do so.

The Reload reported that the La Verne Police Dept. announced that it would make a concealed-carry application process available to residents … or at least to the most dogged and well-heeled among them who would be willing to expend over $1,000 for the two-year credential. Subsequent renewals of that permit, according to that article, would cost some $650. Among the reasons for the initial permit’s sky-high cost would be a mandatory “department-approved psychological review,” mandatory training and fingerprinting and various “administrative,” “licensing” and “processing” fees.

As The Reload article points out, the Supreme Court, in its recent Bruen decision invalidating New York’s may-issue concealed-carry-licensing regime, specifically warned anti-gun jurisdictions against using any permitting or licensing requirement toward “abusive” ends. La Verne obviously did not get the message.

Of course, those who will suffer most from these exorbitant fees are the city’s lower-, working- and middle-class residents, the same people who are most likely to live or work in areas where the need for armed self-protection may be especially acute. The overlap between gun-control proponents and those who purport to promote economic and other types of “equity” is substantial. But when forced to choose, those same people are apparently willing to prioritize the violation of the right to bear arms over universal access to publicly administered services and benefits.

Pro-gun advocates have already put La Verne on notice that its scheme does not comply with the Constitution, and that continued non-compliance will result in litigation. Should that happen, hapless local taxpayers will once again bear the cost of funding local officialdom’s anti-gun defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s clear commands.

It’s bad enough that anti-gun jurisdictions in California are willing to abuse the Second Amendment rights of their own residents. But, as San Jose and La Verne illustrate, some are willing to make a mockery of the rule of law itself in the process.


The Armed Citizen
The Armed Citizen

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