San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo made the headlines earlier this month by proposing first of its kind regulation that would require gun owners in the nation's 10th largest city to carry liability insurance.
Under Liccardo’s proposal, which would require approval from the City Council, gun owners in the Californian city will either have to purchase liability insurance or they’ll have to pay a fee to cover emergency response and medical care for victims of gun violence. The mayor said the strict measure will not “suddenly end gun violence” but it could ease taxpayer costs associated with firearm violence.
Liccardo’s announcement on August 13 has met with mixed reactions. In a follow-up interview with FOX Business, the San Jose mayor said his primary objective behind the initiative is “harm reduction”.
He likened his proposed mandatory gun liability insurance to state-enforced auto insurance requirements, stating: “We see in the context, for example, of auto insurance, how insurance can provide a motivator for safe conduct [...] Similarly, we could do the same with gun ownership — how you might reduce your premium, for example, by taking a gun safety course or by having a gun safe or by ensuring that you only have guns with child-safe locks.”
In the interview with FOX Business, Liccardo said the insurance is not intended to “seek [out and] identify all the gun owners” in the city. Rather, he hopes it will address the significant cost of gun violence to California taxpayers.
He said: “All public costs for everything from emergency response to emergency room treatment — all the costs that result from the human harm of gun violence. It seems to me that those costs should be properly allocated and distributed. Insurance is one way of doing that.”