The San José City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to create a first-of-its kind mandate for gun insurance, and an annual fee for gun owners aimed at relieving the public cost of gun violence.
Ahead of the vote, the Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation (PIRE) provided preliminary estimates from its Public Cost of Gun Harm Study for San José. PIRE estimated the cost to taxpayers stemming from gun violence in San José is $442 million annually. This research will be used while evaluating the amount of a fee the city will require from gun owners.
“While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, it does not require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We won't magically end gun violence, but we will stop paying for it. We can also better care for its victims, and reduce gun-related injuries and death through sensible interventions.”
- Approved an insurance mandate.
“Insurance-based mechanisms can encourage firearm owners to behave more safely--by taking safety classes, using gun safes, installing trigger locks--and can compensate injured victims,” city staff reported.
- Agreed to require fees for gun owners.
City gun users will be required to pay annual fees tol help fund critical emergency medical and police response. The city also will impound weapons “from high-risk individuals unwilling to follow the law.”
PIRE is an independent nonprofit organization currently conducting the Public Cost of Gun Harm study through private and philanthropic funding. Any fee imposed by the City of San José will focus entirely on costs to the city. PIRE also s working with Santa Clara County officials to determine final estimates of the public expense, and a more in-depth report is expected.
The preliminary research estimates gun violence in San José costs taxpayers $442 million dollars between 2013-2019, during which 205 incidents of gun violence occurred. The estimated cost includes: direct out-of-pocket cost to residents ($35 million), lost work ($78 million), and quality of life ($328 million).
Federal, state, and local governments pay almost $40 million for gun violence in San José. Taxpayers contribute to these through costs for emergency response, victim support, tax revenue lost when a victim cannot work, healthcare, and more.