Gun insurance law approved in California city

Morning In America

SAN JOSE, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — A California city has voted to require gun owners to carry liability insurance in what’s believed to be the first measure of its kind in the United States.

The San Jose City Council overwhelmingly approved the measure despite opposition from gun owners who said it would violate their Second Amendment rights and promised to sue.

Having liability insurance would encourage people in the 55,000 households in San Jose who legally own at least one registered gun to have gun safes, install trigger locks and take gun safety classes, Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

The liability insurance would cover losses or damages resulting from any accidental use of the firearm, including death, injury or property damage, according to the ordinance. If a gun is stolen or lost, the owner of the firearm would be considered liable until the theft or loss is reported to authorities.

However, gun owners who don’t have insurance won’t lose their guns or face any criminal charges, the mayor said.

The council also voted to require gun owners to pay an estimated $25 fee, which would be collected by a yet-to-be-named nonprofit and doled out to community groups to be used for firearm safety education and training, suicide prevention, domestic violence prevention and mental health services.

The Silicon Valley city of about 1 million followed a trend of other Democratic-led cities that have sought to rein in violence through stricter rules. But while similar laws have been proposed, San Jose is the first city to pass one, according to Brady United, a national nonprofit that advocates against gun violence.

The proposed ordinance is part of a broad gun control plan that Liccardo announced following the May 26 mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority rail yard that left nine people dead, including the employee who opened fire on his colleagues then killed himself.

The ideological war in the United States over gun control has persisted throughout the recent decade. Mass shootings in stores, schools and spas have overtaken headlines, intensifying conversation over whether legislation should be passed. Last year, President Biden announced a series of executive actions aimed at addressing gun violence including a new rule combating “ghost guns” and publishing “red flag” legislation for states to adopt.

Throughout 2021, Biden has urged Congress to tackle a number of issues, including expanded background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Among his actions, Biden tightened regulations of buyers of self-assembled untraceable “ghost guns” — homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts from gun kits and lack the serial numbers used to trace them.

Personalized smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, also may become available to Americans after more than two decades of questions about reliability and concerns about potential government regulation. Smart guns could potentially stop gun-related tragedies by using technology to authenticate a user’s identity and disable the gun should anyone else try to fire it. There are three ways the gun could work for its owner: fingerprint recognition, smartphone pairing or a keypad.

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