The city of San Jose, California made history recently, but not for nothing. Residents who own guns will soon have to pay a higher price to exercise their second amendment rights.
Gun control supporter Mayor Sam Liccardo recently announced a new “innovative” ordinance in response to the tragic mass shootings that took place at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) train station in May.
The new law requires gun owners to pay liability insurance and an annual fee for the costs of gun violence. And at what price? The freedom to legally exercise their right to keep and carry weapons without being burdened with arbitrary financial burdens.
California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country with 107 restrictive regulations on the books. There were over 2,220 homicides in the state last year – a 31% increase from 2019.
Law-abiding gun owners should not be held criminally or civilly liable for crimes they fail to commit. Since these gun owners are not responsible for these acts of violence, how can they be responsible for the wrongdoing of others?
Much to the chagrin of gun control advocates, responsible gun owners are already taking appropriate precautions and practicing gun safety. Throughout the Golden State, gun owners keep their firearms safe and teach their colleagues how to handle firearms carefully. How does requiring gun owners to obtain personal insurance for possession prevent crimes for which they are not responsible?
What is “innovative” about punishing innocent people for crimes committed by others and depriving them of their possession of firearms?
If politicians are serious about fighting crime and preventing future mass shootings, they would not instruct law enforcement agencies to target innocent residents. Law enforcement is already overworked and understaffed to fight crime. Using the police to enforce such an ordinance would waste taxpayers' money and raise concerns about the fourth amendment.
The Mayor of San Jose falsely claims that buying insurance provides an incentive to keep gun safe, like safe driving auto insurance. He also insists that the insurance will cost "a few dozen dollars" – although an exact number has yet to be determined. Those who cannot afford it get waived from the fee, which begs the question of how necessary it is at all.
An “innovative” approach to fighting crime does not incur any additional costs and makes legal gun ownership a privilege. Why? The possession of firearms is not tied to the payment of the equivalent of a poll tax; It is a sacred, inalienable right enshrined in the Bill of Rights in our constitution.
Charging arbitrary fees for this fundamental right is not only draconian, it is discriminatory.
Regulations like this don't address illegal firearms activities – especially rising rates of violent crime in the state's largest cities. Instead, instead of making gun ownership a luxury – not a right – these proposals will drive low-income minorities out of the market. That's not innovative; that is regressive.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association representing firearms manufacturers, estimates that consumers spent an average of $ 600 on firearms over the past year. The additional fees imposed by this unilateral regulation will make gun ownership more expensive than it should be.
Mayor Liccardo admits in a comment for CNN: “Skeptics will say that criminals don't do it. You're right."
With the increased demand for firearms and ammunition across the country, it is inadvisable to discriminate against law-abiding residents, including California gun owners, who want to protect themselves and their loved ones from the criminal laws.
Ultimately, this comprehensive initiative should not be exported nationwide. A policy like this will massively violate the rights of citizens and make gun possession a privilege for the wealthy and privileged few.
The fight against crime should not be at the expense of our civil liberties.
Gabriella Hoffman is a contributor to Young Voices. Follow her on Twitter: @Gabby_Hoffman