San Jose to Gun Owners: Get Insurance and Pay Annual Fee

The San José City Council on Tuesday took action to require every city household with a gun owner to have liability insurance coverage for their firearms and pay an annual fee.

San Jose is the first city or state in the U.S. with such gun violence reduction proposals.

San José Mayor Sam Liccardo initially pushed for these gun control measures in the wake of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019 where the shooter and three victims  were killed and 17 injured, then renewed the effort after a transit worker killed nine co-workers then himself last May in San Jose.

“When we think about the horrible shooting at the VTA and so forth, I don’t pretend to know if we could have stopped it or not,” Liccardo said at a press conference Tuesday. “But if, in fact, we could have delivered some mental health services, there may have been a chance.”

After the council vote, Liccardo said in a statement: “Tonight San José became the first city in the United States 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.”

“Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing  gun violence and its devastation in our community,” the mayor said. “I am deeply grateful also to our advocacy and legal partners with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP,  EveryTown, Moms Demand Action, SAFE, the Gifford Law Alliance and many others who work tirelessly to help us craft a constitutionally compliant path to mitigate the unnecessary suffering from gun harm in our community.”

“ I look forward to supporting the efforts of others to replicate these initiatives across the nation.”

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement, “Following unthinkable tragedies from gun violence, San José has taken action that will save lives. Our grassroots volunteers have been proud to work hand-in-hand with the mayor, city council, and community partners to help get this innovative package of gun safety laws crafted and across the finish line."

Ewan Barker Plummer,  a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action, Bay Area, said:

“This vote is a victory for gun safety. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of volunteers and commitment to gun safety from San José leaders San José is leading the charge against gun violence. We all want a safer San José, a safer California, and a safer nation. With this approach, we can move closer to that goal.”

The new ordinance, called the Gun Harm Reduction Ordinance, is expected to quickly attract legal challenges from Second Amendment advocacy organizations that have been threatening to sue the city.

There was some dissent among council members in the two separate votes Tuesday. Councilmember Dev Davis dissented on both items, saying that she believed the measures would be ineffective and might even be unconstitutional.

Councilmembers Matt Mahan and Pam Foley voted against the fees, objecting to the management structure.

The new ordinance will take effect in August. It requires that all San Jose residents who own a gun obtain a homeowner’s, renter’s or gun liability insurance policy that specifically covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm.

Gun owners also will be asked to pay an annual fee of between $25-$35 to a nonprofit organization that will be established to aid suicide prevention programs, gender-based violence services, mental health and addiction services, and firearm safety training.

Sworn, active reserve or retired police officers, people who have a license to carry a concealed weapon and low-income residents facing financial hardships are exempt from the ordinance.

Failure to follow the ordinance could result in a civil fine or temporary forfeiture of a firearm, although police said they will only enforce it if they discover gun ownership as part of a criminal investigation.



  1. So they are taxing us if we own guns? This will be struck down when it inevitably gets to the US Supreme Court. But Sam, the king of homelessness, got his headline. Congrats Sam… BTW ‘great work’ for reopening The Jungle that Mayor Reed closed down just before recommending you for mayor. This time it will likely cost us $10 million to clean up. I’d imagine no one regrets recommending you for mayor more than Mayor Reed.

  2. So some of you think that an insurance requirement isn’t a violation of the 2nd Amendment… well I wonder if you’d think that a voting insurance or free speech insurance requirement would violate the Constitution. Seems many of you think that we have a protected right to a car and to drive that car wherever we want. Guess what, that isn’t a right according to the Constitution, that is a privilege and why the state can enforce an insurance mandate. This law is going to get struck down, and quickly at that. I doubt even the 9th Circuit would allow it to stand. Just another feel good law for gun grabbers that is going nowhere, will accomplish nothing, and cost tax payers money.

  3. So what if none of the insurance carriers decide to pick this up?
    Is the City going to become the de-facto insurer?

  4. I’m thinking fire insurance for people who live in Paradise. There are No insurers who will insure your home if you live there, so people have to get their insurance through the state. Now what if insurers balk at the SJ ordinance? Will the City back the policies? IDK, just wondering.

  5. Being an armed criminal, it would be a violation of your 5th amendment rights to pay a tax or have to buy insurance for such activities.
    Hey Al Capone, do you have insurance for all those Tommy guns you used on St Valantines day? Sorry buddy you’re going to have to pay a fine or go to jail.
    But don’t worry we are in a no bail state just promise to appear next June 31st.

  6. So first of all. Those of us who had our CCW applications tossed and never addressed are now required to pay a fee that the VIP campaign donors don’t need to pay. Nor does the low income. Who does that leave? That leaves the honest tax paying individuals who went the correct route to obtain and wanted to carry legally. Are those who hold a liquor license and sell alcohol required pay an annual fee for the rehabilitation of those who kill others when involved in a DUI?. The only thing they will accomplish with this law is to give folks one more reason to not register or obtain a registered firearm. I could be wrong, they may accomplish more, in the way of law suits this is waisting more of the city’s money on litigation and paying those whose rights they have violated. I mean, it looks like there maybe a class action law suit headed their way already over the CCW scandal and now this. This city may go broke.

  7. Big Nope. This came about because of all the unlawful occurrences. And who are we charging to make up the damage? The lawful gun owners. That’s like kicking the cat when your tire is flat.

  8. I look forward to auditing the “ nonprofit organization[s] that will be established to aid suicide prevention programs, gender-based violence services, mental health and addiction services, and firearm safety training.”

    They’ve been so effective so far.

    Thank you, Mayor Sam, for throwing us in that briar patch.

  9. California is the lamest state with the dumbest laws in the nation! They find every way to tax or punish law abiding citizens!

    Sam Liccardo is a joke!! Liberals will continue to turn society to trash!!

  10. Steven,
    How can you be so wrong so often. Think of Workers Comp insurance (though you’ve never been forced to provide it), when your Mod is to high, or when an industry is not profitable for the insurance companies, you are still required to provide it by law. So who do you think has to underwrite the insurance policy? But I digress, there is no conversing with you since you know everything. I will now save my breath.

  11. The problem here Mr. Goldburg is we no longer arrest criminals or incarcerate them for the crimes they commit, we just pass more useless laws that entrap and then don’t enforce them. The law has become a joke, anarchy is the name of the game, so we crack down on the taxpayers.

  12. M.T. Gunn right. The criminals are free to do what they want and the honest people that obey the laws pay get stuck with the repercussions.

  13. Wow. There is so much to unpack here.
    1) The annual fee: Will only be paid by lawful gun owners. Criminals? Not so much. And, BTW, if you are low income, you can skate? Honestly, I am not sure how this works. Guns and ammunition are pretty expensive. Paying the $25 fee should be like half a box of ammunition. Not sure why we are exempting low income folks.
    2) Liability insurance: Most homeowners already have coverage. I have not yet looked at the ordinance, but if it is minimum coverage, look to the minimum auto liability coverages. Like $15k/$30k. That is $15k for one death, $30k max for more than one death. Yep, that is super helpful. If I was a gun owner in CA, that is the minimum coverage I would buy, and would put forth the auto coverage limits as a good case to limit any higher coverage amounts. It is totally useless.
    3) And, Dang! You get a civil fine or forfeiture of your weapon if you do not comply. And, what about the criminals? What is their additional penalty? A small fine? I am sure this in going to scare them into compliance.
    This is all written as if everyone follows rules. They don’t, especially the criminals.

  14. JDBERGER, Correct and worse than you may imagine. EVERYTHING that Liccardo proposes for the non-profit is already free. SCC provides posters, education, and speakers on suicide prevention. Free counseling if no insurance.

    Gun stores are required to post advisories, trade group provide free material on safe storage, free guns locks, free material for K-12 classroom material and more.

    In response to suicides, gun ranges won’t rent to a single person unless the renter brings his/her firearm and wants to rent another to try – otherwise rentals only when accompanied by another person.

  15. @Goldstien.

    First off, driving is a privilege so it’s not comparable. I think it’s obvious that you don’t understand, or don’t care, what is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. I don’t require insurance on my other rights. Rights are granted by the constitution. If I need insurance it should be provided by the government with my right.

    “Does that sound prohibitively expensive or unobtainable?”

    Yes. it is outrageous! If it’s not that much I supposed you can finance a few owners then. Not every gun owner is rich, there are lots of gun owners that are income restricted. It’s simply social engineering through $$ that is a regressive tax and targets the non-wealthy while protecting the criminals.

    Everything in that policy is already covered by a home owner’s policy, except for the legal defense. Which has always been issued through specific insurance companies and is not required by the law. In fact the state has discouraged that coverage in the past.

  16. Constitutional rights are not subject to harassment of those who express them.

    These are small-time subversive politicians and camp followers, worse than poll tax-Trump types.

    They’re just appealing to typical “progressives” (and non-profit profits) before their next gigs.

    What a subversive disgrace as San Jose continues to fail.

  17. What my American and Constitution Loving friends that post here have not fully comprehended; you no longer live under the Constitution. Police Power has held sway over your inalienable rights for at least 90 years. I mark the Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell et al., 290 U.S. 398 (1934) as the demarcation, but others may point to other landmarks.

    Jim Crow, Redlining, Rent Control, Eviction Moratoriums were and are built on this nebulous Police Power. As much as it pains me to concede, the Constitution is basically a cultural document, whereas populations that still believe it holds do not elect politicians nor pass laws that infringe on the bill of rights. There are pockets in the US that honor the Constitution, but San Jose and most of coastal California, certainly do not. A foundation of natural law or inalienable rights is akin to witchcraft or Sumerian god worship to your ruling elite.

    Perhaps with an originalist movement in the Supreme Court, there will be some claw back, but never underestimate the need to be liked for those willing to put the work into getting on the bench.

  18. To my American and Constitution Loving co-commenters.

    This person you humor with comments and snark is not meeting his adult responsibilities and needs to go to his room and think long and hard on how he can be better meet his written commitments. Arguing with him just arrests his development and enables his perpetual juvenility, distracting him from acquiring the resources and the character that allow him to be considered a man by the rest of us men, not someone else’s kept child.

    You are not doing him any favors.

    He needs you to just ignore him, so he has nothing left to do but to contemplate the long history of error and rationalizations that has left him in such a sorry state. Hopefully he can find some Faith in some higher being that will pull him out of his rut.

    He needs your prays, not your arguments.

  19. Ive had this character on ignore for quite sometime now… Its like watching the View and arguing with the TV. Not worth the time.

  20. This is a big step and it will be recorded in history. It was necessary to do this for a long time, I think other states will also take this step. I myself would like to have a weapon in the future. Just recently writing about gun control in college, I found for that. This precaution was long overdue. Especially after the circumstances that occurred in the city.

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