A California city is trying a new regulatory strategy. Just as we are required to carry insurance to cover the deadly carnage we might inflict with our cars, gun owners in San Jose will be required to carry liability insurance and pay a fee to support gun violence education.
Under the city’s vision, [a] nonprofit will send out letters to registered gun owners who live in San Jose asking them to pay the annual fee. Once a payment is made, the nonprofit will send the gunowner a form with their proof of payment and a space on the form to fill out their insurance information. Gun owners will be required to carry or store a copy of the paperwork with their firearm, according to the mayor.
Residents who are exempted from the ordinance include sworn, active reserve or retired police officers, people who have a license to carry a concealed weapon, and low-income residents facing financial hardships.
Failure to abide by the law could result in a civil fine or temporary forfeiture of a firearm.The new law is pretty weak stuff:
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that 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.
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.
They might, however, find themselves paying for any damage they allow with their lethal toys.
Predictably, cry-baby gun lovers have whined about "tyranny" and run to the courts to kill the ordinance. I wonder, do they carry auto insurance?
I also wonder whether a court system packed with Republican judges will throw out this common sense measure. Worth trying.