The city of San Jose decided to require people to have insurance in order to own a firearm. This amounts to a poll tax, a fee required in order to exercise a constitutionally protected right.
At least, that’s how most of us see it.
As a result, the passage of the insurance law was met with a legal challenge. Now, the judge has ruled on the case and, well, there are some issues here.
A federal judge in San Jose, Beth Labson Freeman, upheld the city’s unique gun insurance ordinance on July 17, 2023, which requires firearm owners to carry liability insurance for accidental shootings involving their weapons, leaving pro-gun groups upset in the aftermath KRON4 reported.
The National Association for Gun Rights, one of the pro-gun groups, claimed that the ordinance violated their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but the judge dismissed most of their challenges.
U.S. District Court Judge Labson Freeman applied a new test announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 known as “New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen” to determine the constitutionality of the insurance mandate and concluded that it did not violate the Second Amendment due to multiple independent reasons, such as its consistency with the nation’s long-standing “historical tradition” of shifting the costs of firearm accidents from victims to the firearms’ owners Davis Vanguard reported.
It seems the writer here is a fan of the law in question, but the thing we need to ask is whether this should have gone through like this.
And the ruling does suggest that the judge found adequate historical analogs.
However, when you read it, there are problems.
The City has pointed to several historical analogues with varying degrees of similarity to the Insurance Requirement. See MTD at 13-16. As explained in the Preliminary Injunction Order, the Court finds that the mid-19th century surety statutes, cited by the City and discussed at length in Bruen, bear striking analogical resemblances to the Insurance Requirement. 142 S. Ct. at 2148; see MTD at 14. These statutes typically required certain individuals to post bond before carrying weapons in public if there was “reasonable cause” to fear these individuals would cause injury or breach of the peace, with the bond forfeited if the wielder did in fact injure another or breach the peace. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. at 2148.
The argument that this bears a “striking similarity,” as the judge argued, doesn’t seem to be the case to me.
First, the mid-19th century is a good 60 years after the signing of the Second Amendment, for one thing. For another, those surety statutes required a bond from those deemed a risk to good public order, which was forfeit if they broke the law.
The implication is that they could get that back if they walked the straight and narrow path.
The insurance clause, however, works very differently.
For one, everyone has to pay it regardless of whether they’re a risk or not. Second, there’s no way they can be reimbursed for not being a problem.
That’s just on the surface.
It just seems to me that what we’re seeing here is a judge who wanted to support the San Jose insurance requirement and simply went along with the argument that would allow her to rule in favor of it, then claim she was adhering to the Bruen test.
I just don’t see it.
Granted, I’m not an attorney, so I could be wrong, but it looks like there’s a solid case for this to get overturned on appeal.
As it should be.
Unfortunately, a lot of anti-gun judges will likely proceed with similar lines of “reasoning” if we’re not careful. They’re starting to get their feet under them following Bruen and look at how they can appear to be upholding the Bruen decision while still permitting gun control to be crammed down our throats.
This is a prime example and we’re going to see more of it.