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San Jose mandates video and audio recordings of gun sales after rail yard mass shooting

Mayor Sam Liccardo said the new law is key to "narrowing the flow of guns" in California's third-largest city.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks following a mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority light-rail yard near downtown San Jose, Calif., on May 26, 2021.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks following a mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority light-rail yard near downtown San Jose, Calif., on May 26, 2021.Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images file

Just weeks after a gunman cut down nine co-workers at a regional rail hub, San Jose lawmakers passed legislation requiring video and audio recordings of all retail firearms sales in California's third-largest city.

While most gun stores already have surveillance cameras, starting in September, they'll also have to capture audio as well as video of firearm and ammunition transactions.

The City Council unanimously passed Mayor Sam Liccardo's proposal, which he said will make it harder for straw sales to buyers barred from having weapons. The mayor didn't mince words, saying he wants to slow all firearms sales.

The legislation "is really focused on narrowing the flow of guns to those which are clearly legal and hopefully doing something to deter the flow of guns ... that are unlawful to own, that is to persons who are not entitled to own guns because of prior convictions or other reasons," Liccardo told fellow lawmakers at a council meeting late Tuesday night before legislation was passed.

Later this year, the council is also expected to take up Liccardo's proposal that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay a fee to cover taxpayer costs associated with gun violence.

The San Jose legislation, widely believed to be the first of its kind in California, is likely to be challenged in court.

South Bay firearms instructor Brian Wang, who teaches gun safety courses through his company Monarch Defense, said San Jose's legislation unfairly targets law-abiding citizens who need to buy pistols and rifles for protection.

“These are shop owners, these are business people, these are grandparents, often times you know, they just mind their own business," Wang told NBC Bay Area. “They are vulnerable and being assaulted and so what happens now is that they are starting to buy guns."

The council's action comes in the wake of a deadly May 26 attack at a rail yard in downtown San Jose. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) employee Samuel Cassidy fatally shot nine co-workers at a rail yardbefore killing himself, police said.

That San Jose VTA yard is about 35 miles north of Gilroy, where three people were killed in a shooting at a garlic festival on July 28, 2019.