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Gun Control: San Jose City Council Set To Approve Mandatory Insurance, Annual Fees A Month After VTA Shooting

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- One month after the mass shooting at the VTA railyard, the San Jose City Council is expected to pass several gun control measures, including requirements to buy liability insurance and pay an annual fee to offset the costs of gun violence.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said the measures can be used to get guns out of the hands of people who aren't following the law.

"We know that crooks aren't going to get insurance. Of course, they're not," Liccardo said. "So, when a police officer responds to a domestic violence call and asks the question that every officer asks which is 'Are there any guns in the home?' at that time the officer can determine if that individual has followed the law to get insurance."

Gun rights advocates said the measures punish law-abiding gun owners. They doubt they will make much impact on gun violence and likely run afoul of the Second Amendment.

"We feel it is clearly unconstitutional for the government at any level to charge some sort of a fee before somebody can exercise an enumerated, constitutional right," said Sam Paredes with Gun Owners of California.

Liccardo said gun liability insurance is akin to car insurance insofar as it encourages responsible gun ownership, storage and use.

The mayor introduced a number of potential gun control measures last year, but the desire to find a way to curb gun violence gained added urgency in the wake of the May 26 railyard shooting, in which an employee killed nine of his colleagues before taking his own life.

Gun rights groups said they have lawsuits ready and will challenge the city's decision in the courts.

In the court of public opinion, there seems to be support for the mayor's plan.

"Gun ownership is a really important thing to a lot of people. And I want to respect that. And if you're going to be a responsible gun owner, I want you in our community. But I do also want to help keep everyone accountable," Victoria Gonzalez told KPIX 5.

"I see the value in having insurance for guns because the idea is to keep us more safe," said Alexis Perez in downtown San Jose.

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