UPDATE: San José adopts new gun control measures
San Jose will be one of the few cities in the country to require gun stores to register gun purchases after a unanimous vote late on Tuesday night.
The new rules will seek to prevent so-called “straw purchases,” or a gun purchase where someone buys a gun and passes it on to someone else who shouldn’t own a gun. armed.
According to the Giffords Law Center, there have been 30,000 such purchases in the United States in the past year, although it is not known how many have occurred in San Jose.
âWe know that a significant number of crooks and gangs obtain guns by buying straw,â said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This set of orders is really aimed at reducing the flow of firearms to those that are clearly legal and hopefully doing something to deter the flow of illegal firearms for possession.”
Gun stores in San Jose will be required to video and audio record all purchases to ensure every purchase is legal. The purchase of a firearm in a residence or indoors would be prohibited.
Employees and owners will need to interview potential buyers to make sure they are not looking to start a straw purchase. The order will also require stores to display suicide prevention posters and perform at least one inventory check each year.
âFor obvious reasons, this issue is very important to me,â said Sarah Huff Brancato, whose son Michael Munns was the first homicide in San Jose in 2020. She called to support the proposal.
The proposal follows calls for stricter gun control measures after the May 26 mass shooting at a VTA streetcar construction site in downtown San Jose killed 10 people, including the gunman. Liccardo’s office, however, has been working on gun safety measures for over a year.
The council approved a first draft ordinance in 2019, but implementation was halted due to the pandemic. Chicago has similar laws in place before and San Francisco almost passed similar rules in 2015, but its last gun store closed before the city could do so.
Board member Dev Davis felt conflicted with the new measure because she had grown up around guns and feared it would alienate legitimate gun owners.
“I feel like I’m in the middle of this problem, and it’s a tough place to be in the middle because the problem has become so polarized over the last ten years and the last fifteen years,” Davis said.
Like Davis, board member Raul Peralez grew up around guns and shot recreationally, but said he always believed in stricter gun control measures.
âIn addition to this story, I have always welcomed a more restrictive gun industry. And I’ve been feeling like this since I was a kid, âPeralez said. âIt really baffled me how much this particular industry has been, in essence, untouchable in many places across the country. “
Gun rights activists say these regulations will curtail the rights of law-abiding gun owners and run gun shops out of town.
âThese are small businesses. It’s tough enough to do business in the gun retail market, âsaid Brian Wang, owner of the Monarch Defense gun safety school in San JosÃ©, at the San JosÃ© Spotlight. âBut now the city of San JosÃ© is taking arbitrary control, arbitrary schemes just to make life difficult for these arms stores. It is very clear that they are trying to take the last two arms stores in town and kill them.
Another caller, who declined to identify himself, said the regulations would restrict law-abiding citizens with guns that could help stop a mass shooting. He called the regulation a “thoughtless and simplistic effort to solve the problem of gun violence.”
âTragedies like the VTA that you are trying to respond to will not be eliminated by this regulation,â he said.
The rules are part of sweeping reforms Liccardo announced last week to require gun owners to carry liability insurance – something he proposed in 2019 after a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival ahead of put plans aside due to the pandemic.
Liccardo also wants to require gun owners to pay fees to support emergency medical and police responses related to gun violence. It’s unclear how much gun owners could pay in fees, a decision left to the entire city council.
Neither measure was put to a vote on Tuesday.
Gun lobby groups have vowed to challenge the new law.
“It is outrageous that Mayor Liccardo wants to use big brother-style ‘omniveillance’ to record every move of gun owners,” Taylor Svehlak, director of public affairs for the Firearms Policy Coalition, told San JosÃ© Spotlight. . “This Orwellian requirement would rightly be universally opposed if the city imposed similar mandates for video and audio recording in mosques and churches, bookstores or abortion clinics.”
City prosecutor Nora Frimann said gun laws are often contested, but expressed confidence the city would prevail.
âWe think we’ve threaded the needle on this and what we’re proposing is defensible,â Frimann said.
The VTA mass shooter, a 57-year-old employee, had three 9mm pistols and 32 high-capacity magazines, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said the shooter fired 39 bullets. Magazines, which have held more than 10 rounds, are illegal in California.
All three guns were obtained and legally registered, according to FBI Special Agent Craig Fair.
âEven preventing one of these straw purchases from happening would be a success,â said board member David Cohen. âI am delighted that we are brainstorming some creative ideas here in San Jose. That we are not afraid or not afraid of this debate. May we take this opportunity to try new things to make our communities safer.
Contact Lloyd Alaban at [emailÂ protected] or follow @lloydalaban on Twitter.