The Silicon Valley city’s council split the vote into two parts: the first approved the majority of the proposal, including insurance provisions, and the second approved the fee provisions. The coverage vote passed 10-1, while the fee vote passed 8-3.
The ordinance must be passed the month after it was last read to take effect in August. Gun rights advocates have threatened to sue to block the measures if they become law.
Tuesday’s vote came after hours of debate and public comment on the issue. Critics say the ordinance punishes gun owners who follow the law and fail to address the root causes of gun violence. One speaker told the panel during the public comment session, “You can’t tax constitutional rights,” and urged lawmakers to instead focus on enforcing existing laws, hiring more police and funding for mental health services.
One supporter told the council the ordinance would “help protect our community from preventable gun deaths”, while another urged members to pass the measure, said, “In the near future, it will be very clear that this is the obvious thing to do, and we will wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.”
A gun rights group threatened to sue
Under San Jose’s measure, gun owners would have to pay a $25 annual fee to a nonprofit set up to distribute funds to fight gun crime and to victims of violence. guns. The measure would also require gun owners to have liability insurance to cover damage caused by their firearm.
Those who fail to comply will be subject to fines and possible firearms confiscation “for a due process hearing,” the ordinance said.
Lower premiums for those with gun safes, trigger locks, and completed gun safety classes are expected to encourage safer behaviour.
To enforce, Liccardo explains, police officers crossing the street with gun owners will ask for proof of insurance, the same way they do with car insurance when stopping a vehicle.
While some will be exempt, including those in law enforcement, those with trail permits and those for whom the fee would be a financial burden, reactions are expected. back, the mayor admitted.
“We have opposed this ordinance step by step, and we will look at this to the end,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights and executive director of the National Gun Rights Foundation, told CNN in a statement. before voting.
“If the San Jose City Council does indeed vote to impose this absurd tax on constitutional gun ownership, then our message is clear and simple: see you at,” Brown said. court.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights in July sent a cease-and-desist letter to Liccardo and the 10 members of the council said they intend to file a lawsuit as soon as the ordinance is passed. The group is responding to a June 29 council action, in which “you voted unanimously to have the City Attorney study and draft an ordinance that would impose a mandatory fee on gun owners and ask them to purchase gun liability insurance,” the letter read.
A spokesman for the mayor said San Jose has identified a law firm that will represent the city on the matter free of charge.
CNN’s Andy Rose and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.