The epidemic of gun violence in the United States has stolen lives, devastated families, and traumatized countless people, but there's been virtually no federal intervention to curb this carnage, largely thanks to the gun lobby's grip on Congress.
But at the municipal level, the city of San José, California took an unprecedented step in the effort to reduce firearm fatalities.
This past Tuesday, the city council voted on an 8-3 margin to require gun owners to insure their weapons, in addition to paying a yearly harm reduction fee of $25 that goes toward funding gun violence reduction programs in the city.
The program is also expected to reduce the hundreds of millions in gun-related costs incurred by taxpayers every year, according to San José mayor Sam Liccardo, who said:
"Certainly, the Second Amendment protects every citizen's right to own a gun. It does not require taxpayers to subsidize that right."
The move comes about two and a half years after a mass shooting at the garlic festival in the neighboring town of Gilroy saw a 19 year old gunman kill three people.
Predictably, gun rights groups have leapt to decry the law, with the National Rifle Association (NRA) filing a lawsuit against the city, as did the National Association for Gun Rights, whose attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, warned that criminals wouldn't comply with the law.
Nevertheless, Americans weary of mass shootings and gun-related negligence supported the new law, which takes effect in August.
I’ve been calling for this since my brother was murdered in San Jose in 2012. I even had a couple of heated conversations with then mayor Chuck Reed. And I’ve been writing legislators in San Jose ever since. We did it team. We finally did it. https://t.co/XI34SpcUKC
— Dylan Park (@dyllyp) January 26, 2022
I’ve been preaching this for awhile now. #GunSense https://t.co/3tRBYY4HT3
— Robert Romero (@rgoalierob) January 27, 2022
Thank you, San Jose! https://t.co/5jcyR9HAuw
— Karen Coney Coplin 🌊✨🌴 (@AllaboutNaples) January 27, 2022
Small steps to bringing sanity in gun laws https://t.co/h72eRWYawi
— Satish Jha सतीश झा (@satish_jha) January 27, 2022
Others argued that San José is mandating insurance for a constitutional right, and that the law would negatively impact low-income gun owners.
So now rich people will have guns and no one else.
I can't see this going poorly. https://t.co/UFxzHwSsmW
— Colin (@as_an_archaeo) January 27, 2022
nothing like keeping poor people from defending themselves. https://t.co/VsacrXFRUi
— Louis Hernandes (@vinsch3) January 27, 2022
Stop passing restrictive laws that
1. don’t fix the overarching problem and
2. only prevent poor people from exercising their constitutional right to self-defense https://t.co/oONVRhIg0y
— baylor football super fan (@itshanklol) January 27, 2022
There's lots of litigation ahead for this first-of-its-kind law.