San Jose mayor: Gun insurance requirement addresses public cost of violence

The mayor of San Jose, California, explained his first-in-the-nation proposal to require gun owners to carry liability insurance on their firearms.

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Mayor Sam Liccardo told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney Thursday that the move doesn’t “seek to identify all the gun owners.” Rather, it would be enforced in the same manner that every state enforces auto insurance requirements.

When Varney asked whether his intent was to “lower the number of guns in San Jose” and “try to do something about mass shootings,” Liccardo responded: “my intent is really two-fold.”

Liccardo said his primary objective is “harm reduction.”

“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,” he explained.

But Liccardo said he is also determined to address the cost of gun violence to California taxpayers, which he placed at $1.4 billion.

“All public costs for everything from emergency response to emergency room treatment — all the costs that result from the human harm of gun violence,” he said. “It seems to me that those costs should be properly allocated and distributed. Insurance is one way of doing that.”


Although a vote on the measure is still a “few months off,” he said, a council committee agreed on Wednesday to move forward with a Nexus Study.

“We know that there needs to be a fee if someone cannot get insurance they need to be able to have some other needs of satisfying the requirement or else you have a Second Amendment problem,” he said.