In San Jose, a Different Approach to Gun Control


Sam Liccardo, the mayor of San Jose, has spent the past two weeks attending memorial services and vigils for the victims of last month’s Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. Two people who were killed in Gilroy were from San Jose, both of them children. The mayor says he has stumbled for words — all that he could muster sounded like “trite pablum,” Mr. Liccardo said in an interview.

On Monday, he proposed what he hopes will be a more substantive response, a proposal to require gun owners to buy liability insurance. The idea has been around for a number of years but Mr. Liccardo’s office says it would be the first time it is actually put into practice.

It will be months until a bill is ready for a vote in the City Council, but the mayor says he is counting on San Jose, as the nation’s 10th largest city, to inspire other municipalities to take similar steps.

The idea behind the proposal is that insurance would incentivize gun safety in the same way that car insurance encourages better driving. Gun owners who have taken a safety course might receive a discount, whereas someone with a prior domestic violence conviction would be forced to pay a higher price for insurance.

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