San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Vice Mayor Chappie Jones issued a memorandum last week to revise local laws governing firearm sales. They proposed the idea in response to the pending congressional gun laws that are likely to fail. More specifically, their memo outlines new regulations for all licensees of vendor permit holders, prohibition of the sale of any firearms and ammunition within or from a residence, and requirements for regulation of “downloadable firearms.”
Everyone supports gun safety.
Ensuring that the public is educated and that the proper rules are enforced is critical to ensuring the wellbeing of individuals and the greater community. This is why we urge the city to work with Santa Clara County and state authorities to properly enforce existing gun seizure and “straw” purchase laws, which are not currently being prioritized.
Issuing new legislation will only exacerbate police funding and criminalize law abiding citizens. It will not stop crimes. More importantly, the laws proposed by Mayor Liccardo and his council allies will drive responsible sellers out of business and encourage more residential and black market sales.
Their memo calls for regulations around “downloadable firearms,” which presents a host of problems. Restricting access to design files conflicts with existing court rulings against creating such laws. There is no way to enforce this type of law before a crime happens. Our concern should be getting help for those suffering mentally from depression or illness—not adding an additional charge to a more harmful crime that already happened.
Further, his proposed requirements for audio and video surveillance are grossly under-researched. We understand the intent, but little is understood about the extent this regulation would go. How long would records need to be kept? Where would the data be stored? Who could gain access to the recordings? And more to the point, how would these records violate the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018?
Gun sellers already do the right thing by providing training, inventory checks, reporting missing equipment, and supporting efforts to curb suicide and domestic violence. Asking for further measures towards these efforts will only put a financial burden on gun shop owners and potentially criminalize and close down safe locations for transactions.
The mayor’s memo pulls on heart string with the reminder of past shootings but fails to show that San Jose gun shops are not doing enough. The memo issued discusses national data but likewise fails to show that San Jose is not already doing enough.
There are plenty of valid concerns the community has regarding residential sales. Residential transactions are in response to the county’s systematic efforts to close down the existing safe locations for firearm related transactions and safety education.
Before being banned last year, gun shows on the county fairgrounds had provided the opportunity for these types of private sales to occur where ID was required for entry, armed guards were present, suicide assistance literature was abundant, and safety equipment was sold. They provided the very things the mayor’s proposed laws intend. The closing of safe locations, like the county gun shows and now the 10th Street gun range, only drive firearm sales to neighborhoods and the black market.
Gun safety is an important priority to the San Jose community and something the law-abiding gun owners passionately support. This is why we reject the proposed laws. We encourage you to tell San Jose to think and research further before making more laws.
Jennifer Imhoff chairs the Santa Clara County Libertarian Party. Opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].