San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has proposed mandatory liability insurance for the city’s gun owners, following the three mass shootings recorded across the country over the week.
Under the said proposal, the liability insurance would cover any accidental or intentional discharge of a firearm done by anyone who steals or borrows a gun from an owner. If approved, the new rule would be the first of its kind in the entire nation.
“A mayor doesn’t have the luxury of just offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ — we have to solve problems,” the mayor said in a statement on Monday. “While this is far from a complete solution, it is something we can do to reduce the harms of firearms, without waiting for Congress to take action.”
Licardo’s proposal came two weeks after the July 28 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which had resulted in four deaths and 13 injured. The victims include a 13-year old and a 6-year old from San Jose.
The mayor likened the proposal to the way motorists are required to carry automobile insurance to reduce the rate of car crashes, and how the government tax tobacco consumption to lower smoking rates. “These successful public health models inspire a similar ‘harm reduction’ approach for firearms,” he explained.
The mayor’s recent proposal has received objections from gun rights groups, who vow to take San Jose to court if the program is to be approved by the City Council. “We think it’s really misguided,” said George Lee, a lawyer representing gun rights groups.
Liccardo said he is currently reaching out to other countries in California to pass similar policy.
To date, the insurance program is yet to be approved by the City Council, and a tax would have to make its way to voters through the ballot, Mercury News reported.