Gun Rights Groups Suing San Jose Over ‘Gun Ownership Tax’ Insurance Mandate
A salesperson shows an AR-15 rifle to a customer at a store in Orem, Utah, U.S., on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Two mass shootings in one week are giving Democrats new urgency to pass gun control legislation, but opposition from Republicans in the Senate remains the biggest obstacle to any breakthrough in the long-stalled debate. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two gun rights advocacy groups in the state of California have announced lawsuits against the city of San Jose in response to the city’s new policy requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance.

The National Foundation for Gun Rights, the legal defense arm of the National Association for Gun Rights, announced early Wednesday morning that it was filing suit to block the implementation of the law. “We’re suing the city of San Jose for adopting a gun ownership tax – a blatantly unconstitutional scheme designed to tax gun owners simply for living in the city and having a gun in their home,” NFGR President Dudley Brown wrote in a message asking individuals to sign a “Declaration of Public Support.”

“Make no mistake, if this ‘first of its kind’ gun tax and other mandates are allowed to stand in San Jose, the rabid gun control lobby will export it to cities and states everywhere. We must nip it in the bud now!”

Gun Owners of California, a branch of the gun rights advocacy group Gun Owners of America, also announced it was suing the city over the new law. “Anytime you put in a fee requirement before you can exercise an enumerated constitutional right, you’ve got a problem,” Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes said of the law, via the organization’s Twitter account. “I guarantee that there will be a significant legal response.”

Paredes also indicated his confidence that the organization would easily win their case. “This is so clearly something that we believe we will win in court that we will be asking the city of San Jose to repay our legal fees,” Paredes said via tweet.

The city of San Jose approved the measure Tuesday night. The Daily Wire reported:

“The Silicon Valley city’s council split the vote into two parts: the first approving the bulk of the proposal, including the insurance provisions, and the second approving the fee provisions. The insurance vote passed 10-1, while the fees vote passed 8-3. The ordinance must be approved next month at its final reading in order to take effect in August,” CNN reported.

“Under San Jose’s proposed law, gun owners would be charged an annual $25 fee directed to a nonprofit set up to distribute funds to gun crime prevention and to victims of gun violence. The measure also would require gun owners to obtain liability insurance that would cover damage caused by their weapon,” CNN added

After a mass shooting at a public transit rail yard in San Jose in May 2021 in which eight workers were killed, the San Jose city council unanimously approved drafting the ordinance calling for the restrictions on gun owners.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Democrat, acknowledged in an L.A. Times op-ed that the policies would be ignored by criminals but hoped police could seize some guns from criminals. “Critics say that criminals won’t obey insurance or fee mandates — and they are right. But these ordinances create a legal mandate that gives police the means for at least the temporary forfeiture of guns from dangerous law-breakers.”

Paredes mocked the law shortly afterward. “There is zero logic to these proposals.  The Mayor has admitted that criminals will ignore the law – but he believes he’s going to curb gun crime somehow by making the good guys buy liability insurance?  This is some oddball reasoning for sure,” he said.

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