California city approves first US gun liability insurance law

Liability insurance - person carrying firearm

San Jose voted last week to require that anyone owning firearms must also carry adequate coverage.

The San Jose Council recently gave its overwhelming approval to a law that would require gun owners in the Californian city to carry liability insurance.

Gun owners widely opposed the measure, saying it violates their Second Amendment rights.

Those opposed to the new liability insurance law have threatened to sue San Jose over the violation of their rights. This move by the Silicon Valley city follows a broad and growing trend among Democratic-led cities seeking tighter restrictions on gun ownership in order to help curb violence related to firearm use. That said, while other similar laws have been proposed elsewhere, this city of about 1 million people has become the first to pass such a law, according to a national non-profit advocating against gun violence called Brady United.

The San Jose Council members included a number that had lost friends to gun violence. According to several of the councilmembers, this new law is an important step forward in dealing with gun violence that has been “a scourge on our society,” according to Councilman Sergio Jimenez.

Liability insurance - person carrying firearm

The law requires gun owning residents of San Jose to carry liability insurance coverage.

There are about 55,000 households in the city in which there is at least one legally owned and registered gun. With the introduction of the new law, those owners will need to carry coverage, have gun saes, install trigger locks, and take gun safety classes, according to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. Gun owners will also be required to pay a fee that is currently estimated to be $25. Funds collected in this way will support a to-be-determined non-profit and community groups providing firearm safety education and training, domestic violence, suicide prevention and mental health services.

The policy’s coverage will be used to pay for losses or damages that occur as a result of accidents involving the firearm, including property damage, injury, or death. If the gun is lost or stolen, its owner will be considered responsible for damages, injury or death until the point that its loss or theft is reported to authorities.

That said, the mayor confirmed that gun owners who do not carry liability insurance will not face any criminal charges and will not lose their weapons.

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