San Jose mayor proposes gun owners' liability insurance in the wake of Gilroy mass shooting

Just weeks after the shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California that left three people dead including two children, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is proposing requiring gun owners to either carry liability insurance or pay a fee to “compensate taxpayers for the public costs of firearm violence in America’s 10th largest city,” The Mercury News reports.


In a statement, Liccardo acknowledged that his proposal is far from a "complete solution," but is something that can be done "without waiting for Congress to take action."

“We require motorists to carry automobile insurance, and the insurance industry appropriately encourages and rewards safe driver behavior,” Liccardo said. “We tax tobacco consumption both to discourage risky behavior and to make sure non-smokers are not forced to subsidize the substantial public health costs generated by smoking-related illnesses and deaths.”

If passed, the proposal would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Employees of law enforcement agencies would be exempt from the insurance, which would cover everything from accidental gun discharges to the actions of anyone who steals or borrows someone's gun. For anyone who can't get this particular brand of insurance, they would have to pay a fee that would cover the costs of gun violence in their city.

Speaking to Axios, Liccardo said that the proposal is designed to discourage risky behavior when it comes to guns.

"Those are all decisions that are influenced in different ways by price signals in the insurance markets," he said. "In many cases we can say insurance has saved thousands of lives because drivers recognize, for example, the benefit of having a discount for an airbag."

According to Liccardo, the goal is to ultimately "find ways we can reduce the harm of gun violence without infringing on recognized Second Amendment rights."