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San José to become the first US city to require gun owners to pay fee, get liability insurance

The fees raised from the ordinance will be used to fund "evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm," said the Mayor.

San José to become the first US city to require gun owners to pay fee, get liability insurance
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 26: People take part in a vigil held by the Interfaith Community following the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard, at St. James Park on May 26, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Philip Pache

Trigger warning: This story contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing

In a historic first, San Jose has become the first city in the United States to require most gun owners to pay a fee and carry liability insurance. Mayor Sam Liccardo said the City Council voted in favor of both measures to tackle the issue of gun violence in the city, on Tuesday. The fee is expected to be around $25. The move is also expected to relieve taxpayers of the financial cost of gun violence. There was opposition from some gun owners, who threatened to sue the government over the new requirement but the council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the new ordinance, which will need to be approved at a final reading next month before it can take effect in August, reported NBC News.



The fees raised from the new ordinance will be used to fund "evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm," said Liccardo. More than the fee, liability insurance is expected to encourage gun owners in the city to take safety measures, including having gun safes, installing trigger locks, and taking gun safety classes. While gun owners require to pay a fee and carry liability insurance, they will not lose their guns or face any criminal charges as per the new rules. "Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing gun violence and its devastation in our community," said Liccardo. The Mayor believes the new measures will help build a "constitutionally compliant path to mitigate the unnecessary suffering from gun harm in our community." He also called on other cities to “replicate these initiatives across the nation” to tackle gun violence across the country.


Liccardo first introduced the measures after a mass shooting shook the state in which a gunman fatally shot nine co-workers at a light rail yard in San Jose before turning the gun on himself. The shooter was identified as Sam Cassidy who told a local union official that "I'm not going to shoot you," said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, who added that he specifically targeted his co-workers at VTA, reported CNN. He shot his coworkers inside two buildings at the time of a morning shift change. He then killed himself in front of responding law enforcement officers, said authorities. Authorities said Thursday they recovered three handguns, rather than two they initially said he carried.


FBI San Francisco special agent in charge Craig Fair said the handguns used to shoot his co-workers were legally obtained and registered. The authorities found a memo book filled with notes of hatred toward VTA after US Customs and Border Protection officers in his possession said a Department of Homeland Security official. The book also contained notes about terrorism, fear, and manifestos.


The gun lobby registered their protest against the measure and vowed the sue the city. Sam Paredes, the executive director of Gun Owners of California labeled the new measures as "totally unconstitutional in any configuration." Liccardo said the city had lawyers on standby, who were willing to defend the city pro bono if it was sued.

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