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Liability Insurance Now Required For Gun Owners in San Jose

Because of a new gun law requiring him to carry liability insurance, Dave Truslow, a San Jose, Ca., tech-industry retiree and firearms instructor, started storing his collection of more than 100 guns out of town. “I decided I did not want to be required to comply with this,” Truslow said of the law, which went into effect January 1. San Jose’s law, the first in the nation, mandates that gun owners in the city of nearly one million have insurance covering costs related to accidental gunshot injuries or deaths. The law doesn’t require policies to cover criminal misuse of firearms, reports the Wall Street Journal. The law was pushed by former Mayor Sam Liccardo after several mass shootings in the area. Liccardo, a Democrat who recently stepped down due to term limits, said he thinks the law ultimately will result in insurers offering lower premiums to gun owners who safely store and handle their firearms, much like auto insurers give discounts for good driving. “Just as insurance was a mechanism to dramatically improve road safety . . . insurance with guns could similarly have that effect,” Liccardo said. Gunowners who object to the law said they already took safety measures such as keeping their firearms in safes. City officials should spend more time focusing on fighting gun violence, Truslow said. The San Jose law applies to all gun owners, regardless of whether they carry weapons in public. Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said his organization is preparing new legal challenges on Second Amendment grounds. “This is just a way to make it too costly to own a gun,” Michel said. Advocates on both sides of the gun-rights debate are watching the San Jose law closely. The measure’s success or failure could determine whether such laws are adopted elsewhere. A California lawmaker has also proposed a bill to require gun-liability insurance statewide. Obtaining the insurance required by San Jose likely won’t be difficult for most people, said Janet Ruiz of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. Most homeowners- and renters insurance policies cover the type of liability described in the new law. A few insurers offer stand-alone gun-liability policies, but most don’t. Liccardo explained that the law doesn’t call for San Jose’s police to proactively check whether people with firearms have insurance. Gun owners will be required to carry proof of insurance with their firearms much as drivers do, he said.


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