1st in nation: San Jose mayor wants to force gun owners to have liability insurance

The San José City Council will vote Tuesday on requiring every household with a gun owner to have liability insurance coverage for their firearms and pay an annual fee – which would make San Jose the first city or state in the nation with such gun violence reduction proposals

Liccardo spoke to KTVU about the subject on Monday and he also wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times noting that San Jose has endured three mass shootings in three years, including the most recent one at a VTA light railyard where 10 people died, including the gunman. 

Requiring every gun owner in my city to carry liability insurance will better compensate unintentional shooting victims and their families for medical and related expenses, Liccardo argued. 

And even more importantly, he emphasized, insurance can also incentivize safer gun ownership. Risk-adjusted premiums, he said, will encourage owners to take gun-safety courses, use gun safes or install child-safe trigger locks to reduce the annual toll of accidental gun harm.

Imposing a modest annual fee on gun owners can support underfunded domestic violence and suicide prevention programs, gun-safety classes, mental health services and addiction intervention, Liccardo said. 

Liccardo said he anticipates that a barrage of lawsuits from the firearm industry and gun rights advocates will follow. In fact, the National Foundation for Gun Rights has said "see you in court." 

"While gun rights advocates argue that gun owners should not have to pay a fee to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms" Liccardo said the "2nd Amendment does not require the taxpayers to subsidize folks to own guns." 

He said he's willing to subject San Jose to this litigation because Congress has done little to stop the problem, other than offering "thoughts and prayers." 

Liccardo said his proposals are modeled after public health approaches that have reduced auto-related deaths, tobacco use and teen pregnancy in the U.S.