San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo did what a lot of politicians have talked about for years. He managed to push through a mandate for gun owners to have liability insurance.
He didn’t originate the idea–it’s been around for a while and a number of other people have presented it in the past. However, I can’t recall a single place that actually managed to pass it.
That’s been a good thing, too, because such an insurance plan doesn’t actually seem to exist.
I’ve looked. Most of the insurance I’ve been able to find is either some variety of concealed carry insurance–which people like Liccardo claim is really just murder insurance–or insurance for gun stores. But hey, I’m just one guy with an internet connection. I’m sure Liccardo’s office has more resources than I do.
Clearly, they know where to find such insurance, right? After all, the city has no mandated having that kind of insurance if you own a gun. They’ll know where to find it.
So, I asked.
Several days ago, I emailed Mayor Liccardo’s office and identified myself as a journalist working on a story about the insurance mandate. I mentioned not being able to find such a policy available and asked for their help in locating one.
Well, maybe they were busy, so I followed up on Thursday.
Now, it’s possible that there’s just a massive backlog on their emails and they haven’t gotten to mine yet. It’s also possible that they saw who it was from and either recognized the name or searched it to see who I wrote for and opted to just ignore it because I write for the wrong team.
However, it seems like it’s more likely that they didn’t reply because they simply didn’t have an answer, that they know there’s no such insurance.
Could this be the rub? Mandate insurance that doesn’t exist while recognizing that San Jose isn’t likely the kind of market that would justify creating such an insurance policy, all as a way to backdoor a gun ban?
If so, it’s incredibly sneaky. They can say to the courts, “We didn’t ban anything. It’s not our fault an insurance company won’t offer a policy. Sounds like a market failure to me,” then pretend they did nothing wrong. Hell, in California, that might even work.
But unfortunately for them, they have other problems. Requiring gun owners to pay a fee simply in order to exercise their right is akin to a poll tax. Those have been expressly forbidden by the courts for ages. I don’t see how any court can honestly look at that and not see that fee as a poll tax.
Plus, the insurance mandate is really a poll tax, too.
“But you have to have insurance to drive,” someone will claim, which isn’t accurate. You need insurance to drive on public roads. There’s a distinct and important difference. If I’ve got acres and acres of land, a license isn’t even required to drive on that land, much less insurance.
The insurance mandate, however, covers San Jose residents having a gun on their private property as well. That makes it very different than requiring insurance to drive on public roads.
Not that it matters, anyway, since there’s no such insurance and it seems Liccardo’s office knows damn good and well there isn’t.