San Jose already facing lawsuit over insurance requirement

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The media has been going on and on about a new law passed in San Jose earlier this week. The law in question requires gun owners to have firearm liability insurance.

Plenty of people are praising the move, but there are problems with it. A ton of them, actually.

In fact, those issues have led to the inevitable lawsuit regarding the new law.

A gun rights group and a gun owner have filed a lawsuit against a California city for a newly passed ordinance requiring citizens to obtain firearm liability insurance and pay an annual fee.

The National Association for Gun Rights and gun owner Mark Sikes sued San Jose in federal court Tuesday after believed to be the first measure of its kind in the United States. Sikes is from San Jose.

“The law is unconstitutional,” Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Wednesday. “The law compels people to purchase insurance that doesn’t necessarily exist and that demonstrates that this law is not a good faith attempt to do anything other than ban or burden the lawful possession of guns.”

And Dhillon is absolutely correct. There’s is no such insurance available for private citizens to buy. As such, it’s impossible to comply with the law.

Further, there’s no reason to believe San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is ignorant of this fact. After all, I reached out to his office more than six months ago, asking them about this. I pointed out that I couldn’t find any such policies being offered asking them to direct me to who might offer them or, if they weren’t any, if they’d spoken with insurance companies who begin offering such coverage.

I never heard back.

Hell, at this point, I’m starting to think they don’t like me. I guess I’ll manage to sob myself to sleep over it.

However, because I reached out to them and I’m quite sure I wasn’t the only one to do so, they can’t really pretend ignorance of the fact that such insurance doesn’t exist.

Further, even if it did, I’m still not sure mandating such a thing would pass constitutional muster. After all, how is this any different than a poll tax? You’re requiring the purchase of something in order to exercise a right protected in the Constitution.

Georgia’s first voter ID law was tossed not because an ID requirement was wrong, but because people had to pay for a picture ID. It was determined this amounted to a poll tax, despite the ridiculously modest sum it cost.

As such, it seems impossible for this not to be considered similarly.

Again, that really only matters if the required liability insurance even exists. It doesn’t, nor is it likely to. What Liccardo and company want to do is require insurance that covers intentional actions by either the lawful or owner or some third party using the gun without consent.

That’s not how insurance works, so that’s why this kind of insurance isn’t likely to be offered anytime soon.

What Liccardo and the city council there in San Jose have done, though, is create a situation where gun ownership will be unlawful at all, but where it will at least look like it is.

No one is going to fall for it, though.