gun control

San Jose Mayor Outlines New Gun Control Ordinance to Help Curb Gun Violence

Mayor Liccardo, the district attorney, community leaders and gun reformers came together to endorse the 10-point plan

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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo outlined a controversial plan Tuesday that he believes will help curb gun violence. The 10-point proposal includes a requirement that gun sellers video record every sale -- something no city has ever tried to do before.       

This comes just two weeks after a San Jose VTA yard became the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in Bay Area history.          

Some of the most controversial 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.

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

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.

“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.

The mayor followed through with a promise he first made after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival two years ago and two weeks after another gunman murdered nine of his coworkers at a VTA railyard in San Jose.

Community leaders and gun reform advocates are asking the full city council to get behind the plan.

“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. 

San Jose unanimously passed a controversial gun reform proposal -- stores have to video-record all firearm purchases. This comes at a vulnerable time for the city. Raj Mathai spoke with Joe Cotchett, a prominent Bay Area lawyer and legal advisor to Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Brian Wang, a gun instructor, for their input.

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,” said Liccardo.

The mayor plans to submit the proposals to the council Thursday and wants passage by September.

Read the full statement from the Firearms Policy Coalition below:

Firearms Policy Coalition and our members are putting recalcitrant government officials on notice: If you ban constitutionally protected firearms or conduct, we are coming for you. All states and local governments must comply with the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment, period. The days of governments doing whatever they wish to impose expansive, unconstitutional gun control laws are numbered. We will work tirelessly to bring your tyrannical efforts to a crashing halt, and are committed to restoring human liberty and freedom using every available resource. If San Jose adopts Mayor Liccardo's outrageous and unconstitutional gun control proposals, we will not hesitate to challenge the City's policies in federal litigation and take every possible action to block their enforcement.

Re: "Reducing Gun Harm through an Insurance Mandate"

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo's proposed insurance requirement is burdensome, unconstitutional, and prohibited by California law. Insurance companies cannot issue policies to insure against one's unlawful acts, and the Second Amendment prohibits local governments from imposing such requirements on gun owners.

Re: Reducing the Public Cost of Gun Violence

Mayor Liccardo's proposed fees are constitutionally offensive and would severely burden the right to keep and bear arms. Worse still, they would put lawful access to firearms out of reach of poor and underprivileged individuals in high-crime neighborhoods -- people who rely on their firearms to defend their lives and families from violent criminals.

Re: Impounding Guns from Those Who Don't Comply

Not only is Mayor Liccardo's proposed ordinance unconstitutional, he adds insult to injury by outright threatening those who cannot comply with armed police officers and force. Not only is that an outrageous abuse of law enforcement power, it is a dangerous approach to policing that will surely escalate tensions between officers and the public.

Re: Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO)

It is unsurprising that the authoritarian Mayor Liccardo would wish to promote the use of laws that use ex parte secret hearings and seizures to disarm people who exercise their rights. Like the right to keep and bear arms, the right to due process is not up for debate.

Re: Assault Weapons Ban

FPC will vigorously defend our historic victory in our Miller v. Bonta challenge to the State of California's unconstitutional ban on so-called "assault weapons." The City of San Jose may not like what the Constitution requires, but we will work to ensure that it respects the right of its residents to buy and possess these common, semi-automatic firearms that are overwhelmingly held and used for lawful purposes in the vast majority of the United States.

Re: "Ghost Guns"

America has a long history and tradition of individuals making and assembling their own arms, and indeed, such practices have always been lawful. Law-abiding people have a right to self-manufacture firearms for their own lawful use, and FPC will aggressively protect the rights of San Jose residents to build their own firearms at home.

Re: Straw Purchasing and Suicide Prevention

It is outrageous that Mayor Liccardo wants to use "Big Brother"-style omniveillance to record gun owners' every move, violating the privacy of millions, especially at-risk firearm purchasers. This Orwellian requirement would be rightly universally opposed were the City to impose similar video and audio-recording mandates in mosques and churches, book stores, or abortion clinics.

Re: "Looking Out for One Another"

Mayor Liccardo is proposing an utterly dystopian program designed to turn neighbor against neighbor in support of his tyrannical and oppressive policies. One wonders what other classes of people he would like to use "community snitches" to target for heavy-handed police actions.

Re: Gun Buy-Back Programs

San Jose cannot "buy back" guns it never owned, and it is a waste of taxpayer resources to support programs that have not been shown to improve public safety or reduce crime. Worse still, these "gun buy-back" programs allow criminals to be paid to anonymously dispose of guns used in crime and destroy evidence. If the City wants to solve violent crimes, perhaps they shouldn't be helping violent criminals get away with murder.

Re: Leveraging Federal Information for Early Intervention

FPC will closely monitor any developments in information-sharing between local, state, and federal governments for compliance with constitutional principles and privacy statutes.

Re: Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Head Coach comments

Mr. Kerr's misguided opinions and policy preferences are irrelevant to the Constitution and in no way supersede the rights of the People to keep and bear arms.

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