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San Jose, Calif., to institute first-in-the-nation gun ownership requirements

Mayor Sam Liccardo said a new fee for gun owners would support “evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm.”

San Jose, California, is set to become the first U.S. city to enforce an ordinance requiring most gun owners to pay a fee and carry liability insurance.

In a statement Tuesday night, Mayor Sam Liccardo said the City Council had voted in favor of both measures, which are aimed at reducing the risk of gun harm and relieving taxpayers of the financial cost of gun violence.

The council overwhelmingly approved the measures despite opposition from gun owners, who promised to sue, saying the measures would violate their Second Amendment rights. The ordinance still needs approval at a final reading next month before it can take effect in the Silicon Valley city in August.

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San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks alongside Eric Adams, then a candidate for mayor of New York City, at the White House on July 12 after a meeting with President Joe Biden about strategies to reduce gun violence.Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file

The funds generated from the fees will be funneled into "evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm," Liccardo said. The fee is expected to be around $25, Bay City News reported.

Meanwhile, having liability insurance is meant to encourage gun owners in San Jose to take safety measures, including having gun safes, installing trigger locks and taking gun safety classes.

Gun owners who do not acquire insurance, however, will not lose their guns or face criminal charges under the new rules.

"Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing gun violence and its devastation in our community," Liccardo said.

The new measures, he said, will help build a "constitutionally compliant path to mitigate the unnecessary suffering from gun harm in our community."

He said he hoped other cities would “replicate these initiatives across the nation.”

Nine people were killed in a shooting at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority facility in San Jose in May.
Nine people were killed in a shooting at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority facility in San Jose in May.Noah Berger / AP file

Liccardo initially proposed the measures in June, nearly two weeks after a gunman fatally shot nine co-workers at a light rail yard in San Jose before he killed himself in an incident that made national headlines.

As Liccardo celebrated Tuesday's vote, not all were happy with the outcome.

Sam Paredes, the executive director of Gun Owners of California, said before the vote that the group would sue if the proposal went into effect. He condemned it as “totally unconstitutional in any configuration," The Associated Press reported.

Liccardo said lawyers had already volunteered to defend the city pro bono if legal action is taken.