Mandatory liability insurance for gun owners? California mayor wants to require it

The mayor of San Jose announced Monday that he is seeking “a first-of-its-kind ‘harm reduction’ model” to curb gun violence in his city, a plan that includes requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance.

His announcement comes two weeks after a fatal mass shooting in nearby Gilroy.

“A mayor doesn’t have the luxury of just offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ — we have to solve problems,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo in a statement.

Liccardo listed out his five-point plan in a press release issued Monday.

In addition to mandatory liability insurance, Liccardo also has proposed that gun owners pay a “gun violence subsidy” fee “to eliminate the public cost — a taxpayers subsidy — of gun violence resulting from private ownership.“

Liccardo also called on the city to explore a tax on all gun and ammunition purchases and exploring a partnership with the district attorney’s office to explore “a consent-to-search program” where parents will allow police to search their homes for any weapons owned by their juvenile children.

Finally, the mayor called on the city to advocate for more gun control on a statewide level, to “further urge legislation that removes potential obstacles to local solutions such as these, including barring any legal claims asserting state preemption over a locally-enacted insurance- or fee-based approach.”

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.