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San Jose announces plan to charge law-abiding gun owners for costs of criminal gun violence

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In an unprecedented move that is sure to be challenged in court by gun-rights advocates, city leaders in San Jose voted Tuesday to require gun owners in the city to pay taxpayers for the public costs incurred by criminal gun violence.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the progressive San Jose City Council passed ordinances to "require every gun owner to buy liability insurance coverage for their firearms" and "pay a fee to compensate taxpayers for the emergency medical and police responses to gun-related injuries and deaths," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Democratic Mayor Sam Liccardo praised the measures and reportedly argued that gun owners who refuse to comply with the new rules would have their weapons seized.

"While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, it does not require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership," Liccardo said in a statement. "We won't magically end gun violence, but we will stop paying for it."

Officials have reportedly not yet decided on what gun owners will be required to pay as a fee. That figure will be determined upon completion of a study conducted by an organization called the Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation.

Ahead of the council vote, PIRE released a preliminary report which assessed that gun violence in the city cost San Jose roughly $442 million annually.

At least one gun-rights group, the Firearms Policy Coalition, is already planning legal action. FPC told KNTV-TV last week it was putting San Jose officials "on notice." Read the full statement below.

Firearms Policy Coalition and our members are putting recalcitrant government officials on notice: If you ban constitutionally protected firearms or conduct, we are coming for you. All states and local governments must comply with the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment, period. The days of governments doing whatever they wish to impose expansive, unconstitutional gun control laws are numbered. We will work tirelessly to bring your tyrannical efforts to a crashing halt, and are committed to restoring human liberty and freedom using every available resource. If San Jose adopts Mayor Liccardo's outrageous and unconstitutional gun control proposals, we will not hesitate to challenge the City's policies in federal litigation and take every possible action to block their enforcement.

The gun-rights group went on to refute each piece of the 10-point plan, explaining why each specific measure is unconstitutional.

With the new ordinances, San Jose becomes the first city in the U.S. to enact such a controversial anti-gun stance. The new policy comes after last month's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in the city.

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