gun control

San Jose City Leaders Approve Sweeping New Gun Control Measures

City Council OKs Mayor Sam Liccardo's 10-point plan to curb gun violence

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San Jose city leaders late Tuesday approved sweeping gun control measures first proposed in 2019 after the Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting and met with renewed urgency after a May 26 mass shooting at a San Jose VTA rail yard.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo outlined the controversial 10-point plan last week. It includes a requirement that gun sellers video record every sale, something no city has ever tried to do before.       

The new ordinance comes three weeks after nine VTA employees were gunned down by a co-worker in a rail yard in North San Jose, the deadliest mass shooting in Bay Area history.          

Some of the most disputed parts of the plan would force all owners to buy gun liability insurance and pay a fee to offset the damage done by gun violence measures that they admit will face court challenges – but the mayor and other community leaders said they’re legal fights they believe they can win.

Liccardo, the Santa Clara County district attorney, community leaders and gun reformers came together to endorse the plan. 

“First, San Jose would become the first city in the United States to require every gun owner to have liability insurance for their firearms,” said Liccardo.

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Stanford Professor Priya Satia, whose work includes historical and cultural research on guns, about the newly proposed gun control ordinance.

The mayor followed through with a promise he first made after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival two years ago.

“It is unacceptable that we live in a country that is as advanced as the United States, yet we have to endure such frequent and unparalleled levels of gun violence,” said Esther Sanchez-Gomez from Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 

The plan also includes everything from bans on ghost guns and assault style weapons to gun buyback programs and required video recording of all gun sales -- something that’s sure to see legal challenges.

It also calls for an unspecified fee on every gun to help offset the public costs associated with gun violence, a $1.4 billion expense statewide last year.

“The 2nd Amendment protects Americans' rights to own guns, but it does not require that every other taxpayer pay for that right,” said Liccardo.

Gun rights groups are already promising challenges.

The Firearms Policy Coalition told NBC Bay Area they’re putting, “Government officials on notice: if you ban constitutionally protected firearms or conduct, we are coming for you.” 

In fact, the coalition refuted each piece of the 10-point plan individually - saying each is unconstitutional and will be defeated in court.

But the mayor and others say they’ll survive the legal tests.

“Together these rules create a constitutionally compliant mechanism to enable law enforcement to impound guns from high risk individuals unwilling to follow the law,” Liccardo said.

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