San Jose

City of San Jose Approves Gun Control Plan Imposing Gun Owner Fee, Liability Insurance

Violators of the new laws could have their guns taken away

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Weeks after a gunman shot and killed nine people at a VTA rail yard, the San Jose City Council is taking steps it hopes will help reduce gun violence and the costs to taxpayers.

It voted Tuesday to establish a yet-to-be-determined gun owner fee to help cover the cost of gunshot-related police and ambulance response and medical treatment.

The Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation says the cost of gun violence in San Jose is $442 million annually.

The council also approved requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance.

Mayor Sam Liccardo says he knows the new rules won't stop mass shootings but he believes safety rules will save lives.

“We live in a country with 4.6 million children who live in a home where guns aren’t locked. There's a lot we can do to be safer,” he said. 

Violators of the new laws could have their guns taken away. The police chief says enforcement would be limited.

“During our normal course of duty, if we come across a firearm we will ask the owner if they have insurance,” said San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata. “We are not going to go door to door inspecting guns to see if they have insurance.” 

Not everyone supports the rules.

“The mandatory gun liability insurance puts a financial burden on a constitutional right,” said someone at the meeting.

Gun control advocates however, applaud the effort.

“I want to thank Mayor Liccardo and members of the board for being proactive to help create a safer San Jose,” said someone at the meeting.

The rules in the form of an ordinance will be back before the city council in September for a final vote.

Legal challenges are expected.

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