Legal gun owners in the City of San Jose, California will soon have to pay a yearly tax for gun ownership as well as carry special liability insurance under the terms of a new law that passed unanimously in the City Council on Tuesday. The new fee is meant to cover taxpayer costs for crimes associated with gun violence in the city.
The new law was passed just weeks after a former employee at the San Jose VTA rail yard killed nine former co-workers and himself in late May. The California city is the first in the United States to pass such an extreme anti-Second Amendment measure.
Mayor Sam Liccardo is in favor of the new law and plainly stated that gun owners who refuse to comply with the law should not own guns.
“We won’t magically end gun violence, but we stop paying for it,” Liccardo said in a statement.
The annual fee for gun ownership in the city has not yet been determined, although Liccardo recently tweeted an estimate of $2,155,658.00 in taxpayer cost per victim of gun violence.
Liccardo has been hard at work setting up infringements of the Second Amendment for a while now. The mayor first started going after citizens’ Second Amendment-protected rights in 2019 following a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the summer of 2019. Plans for the extremist gun laws were shelved during the COVID-19 pandemic but reemerged following the VTA rail yard shooting in May.
“Gun violence in San José costs taxpayers $442 million. That’s $2.2 million in taxes per gun violence victim. The Second Amendment protects the rights of Americans to own guns but doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership. #EndGunViolence,” Liccardo tweeted on June 29.
Gun owners in the city who don’t pay the new taxes and fees could have their weapons confiscated or be forced to pay fines.
The city already passed another of Liccardo’s initiatives two weeks ago, which requires purchases at all gun shops in the city to be recorded both on video and audio. All the measures are a part of Liccardo’s 10 point plan meant to address gun violence in the city.
“What we are proposing are initiatives that have not been tried before in recognition that what has been tried and implemented hasn’t done enough,” Liccardo said upon releasing the 10 point plan. “People may believe that gun violence is unpredictable and irrational, but in fact, it is a result of the system that we have created and it will continue to be that result until we change that system.”
Anti-Second Amendment activists applauded the city’s new law. “There is no one law or policy that will solve the public health crisis that is the gun violence epidemic,” said Jessica Blitchok, a volunteer with anti-gun group Moms Demand Action. “However, a holistic approach will reduce gun harm in San Jose and the greater community.”
Other citizens accused Liccardo of playing politics with the issue. “Mayor, it seems like you’re playing national politics here and I don’t think San Jose taxpayers should subsidize your political ad campaign,” said city resident Sasha Sherman.
Liccardo argued that while the Second Amendment protects the right to own guns, it doesn’t say that municipalities can’t profit from that right. “The @CityofSanJose is taking action against gun violence with this first-of-its-kind landmark decision. The Second Amendment protects the rights of Americans to own guns, but doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership. #EndGunViolence,” Liccardo tweeted.
“This is a pure direct attack on gun owners and the Second Amendment,” said attorney and gun rights activist Colion Noir on Fox and Friends. “And, honestly, I think it’s a disgusting attempt at trying to generate revenue for the city as well.”
“Even the mayor said it himself,” Noir continued. “This isn’t going to do anything to stop these shootings but yet, somehow, he still wants to do this…and I wonder why? Maybe because it’s a great revenue generating scheme for them.”
In stacking gun law upon gun law, Noir argued, the mayor and City Council of San Jose are attempting to make the Second Amendment irrelevant in the city by making it a gigantic hassle to own a firearm.
“They’re trying to build a wall to effectively push out the Second Amendment, altogether,” Noir concluded. “Their default is always ‘let’s find a way to make it harder on gun owners.”
Not only that, but the new tax is punitive in nature and is essentially punishing innocent gun owners for the crimes of others. For that reason alone, the new law seems ripe for court intervention. Liccardo and San Jose may pass their new gun law, but it’s doubtful that the courts will allow it to stand as it financially punishes the innocent for the crimes of others.