SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of San Jose has proposed requiring gun owners in the nation’s 10th largest city to carry liability insurance to cover taxpayer costs associated with firearm violence.
If approved, Mayor Sam Liccardo’s strict new measure proposed Monday would be the first of its kind in the nation to curb gun violence, the Mercury News reported .
The city of 1 million was home to two children killed in a July 28 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
“With this measure, we won’t suddenly end gun violence,” Liccardo said. “But we’re going to stop paying for it.”
Under Liccardo’s proposal, which would require approval from the City Council, gun owners would have to either carry liability insurance or pay a fee to cover emergency response and medical care for victims of gun violence.
Liccardo likened the proposal to attempts to lower smoking rates and car crashes. Motorists, he pointed out, are required to carry auto insurance, and tobacco consumption is taxed both to discourage smoking and cover the costs of smoke-related illnesses and death.
Gun rights groups are vowing to take San Jose to court if the City Council approves the measures. “We think it’s really misguided,” said George Lee, an attorney representing firearm groups like the Firearms Policy Coalition.
Under Liccardo’s plan, liability insurance would cover the accidental discharge of a gun, along with intentional acts by people who steal or borrow a gun from a gun owner. He acknowledged that insurers won’t cover intentional conduct by a gun owner.