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California city first to require gun liability insurance

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo kneels in front of a memorial for rail yard shooting victims in front of City Hall on May 27, 2021. Associated Press/Photo by Haven Daley

California city first to require gun liability insurance

The San Jose City Council in Silicon Valley voted Wednesday to approve a law requiring gun owners to have liability insurance in an attempt to promote firearm safety. The policies must cover losses or damages resulting from accidental firearm use and will hold an owner liable for a lost or stolen gun until they notify police. Those who don’t get insurance must pay a $25 fine that will go to a yet-undetermined charity.

Why now? The ordinance is part of a broad gun control plan proposed after a fatal shooting in a San Jose rail yard in May. It is the first law of its kind in the country. Mayor Sam Liccardo estimated gun violence costs the city at least $40 million each year in emergency response services alone. The National Rifle Association said this will not fix the underlying problem of criminal use of firearms, and critics argued it violates the Second Amendment by taxing a constitutional right. Some gun owners and organizations have promised to sue. 

Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in The Sift on the shooting that prompted the plan.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and a WORLD Digital intern.


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