Gun Rights Group Fights Back

Photo by STNGR Industries on Unsplash

They aren’t backing down.

After the City of San Jose, California, passed a gun bill it says will reduce firearms-related incidents, a gun-rights group filed suit.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, states that “The City of San Jose has taken the unprecedented step of requiring virtually all gun owners within its city limits to pay unspecified sums of money to private insurance companies and an unspecified fee to an unidentified government-chosen non-profit simply to exercise their constitutional right to own a gun.”

The bill at the crux of the lawsuit requires gun owners in the City of San Jose to purchase liability insurance and pay “user fees.” The city would use these fees to invest in “evidence-based initiatives” intended to reduce gun harm.

Lauding the bill as a success in a statement released on Tuesday, San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo commended the city for becoming the first in the U.S. to “enact an ordinance to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and to invest funds generated from fees paid by gun owners into evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm.”

According to the bill, the liability insurance mandate could decrease gun incidents because it would encourage “safer behavior” in addition to providing “coverage for losses and damages related to gun incidents.”

However, the lawsuit argues that the new ordinance would lead to gun confiscation. Stating that city’s intention by imposing these fees is to “suppress gun ownership without furthering any government interest,” adding that one of the penalties for non-payment would be seizing the citizen’s gun, which the group calls “patently unconstitutional.”

The group also argued that imposing fees on any constitutional right should be unthinkable. It continued by comparing the ordinance to a “free speech tax” or “church attendance tax,” highlighting that if left intact, the ordinance “would strike at every core of the fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms and defend one’s home.”