Gun Rights Group, gun owner sues San Jose for liability laws requiring owners to pay annual fee and get insurance

SAN JOSE, California (KGO) – The first lawsuit against the city of San Jose was filed less than 24 hours after the city approved a controversial ordinance.

The new rule requires gun owners to have liability insurance and pay an annual fee.

RELATED: San Jose will be the first in the United States to require gun liability insurance, city officials say

Now, with the ordinance passed, one of the largest gun rights groups in the country says they are living up to a promise to the city of San Jose.

“We promised them that if they passed this, we would see them in court,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, “and last night we did just that. We sued them.”

That action followed an hour-long city council meeting Tuesday night that approved the first of its kind in the country.

In six months, San Jose gun owners will have the liability insurance and pay the $ 25 annual fee that will go to a nonprofit organization AND be used for firearms safety training, suicide prevention, domestic violence prevention and more.

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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo spoke about the fee at a conference Monday, ahead of the vote that took place Tuesday night.

Liccardo says the city pays millions every year for fighting gun violence.

“The second amendment certainly protects every citizen’s right to own a gun,” Liccardo said, “it does not require taxpayers to subsidize that right.”

The lawyer representing the National Association for Gun Rights, Harmeet Dhillon, says criminals will not abide by the law.

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“It will be the law-abiding citizens who actually deter crime by having guns in their homes who will be the ones bearing the burden of this unconstitutional regulation,” Dhillon said.

Liccardo says criminal gun use is not the only focus of the new law, citing studies that show high rates of suicide with guns and weapons inflicted with damage.

“We use an approach that addresses many types of deaths and injuries caused by the use of a firearm in our city and in cities across the country,” Liccardo said.

Dhillon says it is not just the second amendment to bear arms that the law challenges.

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“The fact that the city of San Jose is forcing citizens who exercise a constitutional right to bear arms, especially in their homes (and taxing it) and giving the tax money to nonprofits, then using it for speech that we all know will be used “It’s a violation of the Constitutional Court. It’s a violation of the First Amendment,” Dhillon said.

San Jose Mayor Liccardo responded to the group and the lawsuit today along with a law firm representing the city pro bono. The law firm responded to Dhillon’s statement.

“The executive order specifies that the money will not be used for litigation or lobbying-related activities used by the nonprofit organization,” said Tamarah Prevost, a partner with Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the city said the lawsuit against them by the National Association for Gun Rights is the only lawsuit they have against them, but they expect more.

“I am convinced that we will get out of this lawsuit with a regulation that survives constitutional inquiry,” Liccardo said.

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