SAN JOSE, Calif. (KSEE) — The city of San Jose passed an ordinance late Tuesday that would require most gun owners to pay fees and carry liability insurance.
It would be the first of its kind in the whole country.
The ordinance has yet another reading next month before it can go into effect. And while San Jose City Council members have overwhelmingly supported it, gun owners here in the Central Valley say they don’t think orders like this are necessary.
Gun owners in San Jose may soon have to purchase liability insurance and pay additional fees if they want to own a gun. In a 10-to-1 vote in favor of insurance and an 8-to-3 vote in favor of annual dues, the Bay Area city is now poised to be the top city of the country to approve such an order.
City leaders say the $25 annual fee is meant to help ease the financial burden of gun violence on ratepayers and that liability insurance is meant to encourage safety.
However, to Clovis, The Firing Line indoor shooting range owner Jacob Belemjian says he’s not sure how it would all work in practice.
“Criminals are not going to respect that,” Belemjian explained. “All of this is an added burden, extra charge, expense, for law-abiding gun owners.”
A national pro-gun group has already launched a lawsuit, claiming in part that the fees are a tax on a constitutional right.
However, the city says the fees will go to a nonprofit, which just isn’t formed yet. Details are limited on what type of liability insurance coverage would be needed, but the city says it would ensure owners store firearms in locked safes and focus on safety.
Belemjian says he believes in this order, but no more.
“They always say it’s a matter of security, so I want to ask the question, how will this make things safer?”
Fresno City Council members say they are not considering any such action at this time.