Yesterday, the San Jose City Council adopted File 22-138 in a final vote, to require gun owners to pay an annual tax and purchase liability insurance. It will go into effect in August.
File 22-138, the amended ordinance, requires gun owners to pay an annual fee and have liability insurance coverage for firearm-related “death, injury, or property damage.” Gun owners are required to fill out and sign a city-provided form attesting to compliance, and also to sign new forms each time their insurance information changes. They are required to keep this form, along with proof of payment for the annual tax, with their firearms wherever they are being stored or transported. The form must be presented upon demand by law-enforcement. Failure to comply will result in firearms being impounded.
This is an attempt to punish law-abiding gun owners for owning a lawful product, by making them pay for the activities of criminals. Taxing lawful ownership and requiring insurance will do nothing to reduce gun violence, which is often committed by repeat criminals who will not be paying the fees or obtaining insurance. It simply increases the cost for law-abiding citizens to exercise a constitutional right. Violent criminals in illegal possession of firearms cannot be required to comply with these measures, as the ordinance’s attestation requirements violate their right against self-incrimination.
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