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Gun Owners in San Jose, CA to Face New Tax and Confiscation for Noncompliance

Gun Owners in San Jose, CA to Face New Tax and Confiscation for Noncompliance

“The city council’s aim is to try to recoup the cost of responding to gun incidents such as shootings and deaths.”

The city council in San Jose, California has voted to impose a new tax on gun owners in the city. Failure to comply with the new tax will result in gun confiscation.

This is an obvious attempt to exert a form of gun control through punishment.

Breck Dumas reports at FOX Business:

San Jose to tax gun owners, will confiscate firearms for noncompliance

Gun owners in San Jose, California, will soon face a yearly tax and be required to carry additional insurance after their city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to impose the new measures.

The forthcoming fee for gun ownership in the city has not yet been determined, but officials said that anyone found to be in noncompliance will have their weapons confiscated.

The city council’s aim is to try to recoup the cost of responding to gun incidents such as shootings and deaths. According to the Pacific Council on Research and Evaluation, which studied the issue and sent a representative to testify before the panel, gun-related incidents cost the city roughly $63 million every year in the way of paying for police officers, medics and other expenses, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The new measures come just weeks after a disgruntled Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employee gunned down and killed nine colleagues at a San Jose railyard.

San Jose-based FOX 2 reported that citizens weighed in on the proposal, with some praising the council for the measure and others condemning the move as unconstitutional.

“I strongly oppose more taxation on legal gun owners,” San Jose resident Sasha Sherman told the council. “Each time a gun owner buys ammunition, they pay an 11% tax, plus a background check fee.”

So the logic here is to charge law abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals? That makes absolutely no sense.

This tweet is from Sam Liccardo, the mayor of San Jose:

The city also wants to force gun owners to carry liability insurance.

The Associated Press reports:

San Jose to require gun owners to carry liability insurance

San Jose officials have passed the first law in the nation that requires gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay a fee to cover taxpayers’ costs associated with gun violence.

The new law was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday, a month after a disgruntled San Jose rail yard employee fatally shot nine of his co-workers and then himself at the rail yard, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mayor Sam Liccardo praised the measures and said gun owners who do not comply with the new rules shouldn’t have guns.

“We won’t magically end gun violence, but we stop paying for it,” Liccardo said in a statement.

This is gun control, plain and simple. The city of San Jose is saying that if they can’t just take your guns, they will make it extremely difficult for you to keep them.


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JusticeDelivered | July 3, 2021 at 12:10 pm

For the most part, few criminals will pay any fees. What will it take to get a stay on this?

Those number are as bogus as you can get

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to ronk. | July 5, 2021 at 10:25 am

    And this is like a pole tax. The government is taxing people as a condition to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right. If this stands, there is little limit on what other rights the government could attempt to tax out of existence.

ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Everyone usually forgets the first letter.

I think residents of San Jose should be forced to register all alcoholic beverages in their homes, forced to get a license to buy alchohol, pay a tax for owning drinks to pay for all the DUI/alcohol related deaths and injuries, and have their drinks confiscated for non compliance. They should only be allowed to have bottles with limited volume (capacity) such that TSA would permit them on an airplane.

    JDmyrm in reply to JDmyrm. | July 3, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    I could go on. Liquor stores would need to perform background checks on patrons against a national database of DUIs/domestic abuse/ etc….

      Valerie in reply to JDmyrm. | July 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm

      Apply that reasoning to Gavin Newsom, first. Remember the vineyards his extended family owns?

    Milhouse in reply to JDmyrm. | July 4, 2021 at 3:14 am

    That actually makes more sense than this proposal. Almost all alcohol-related costs to the city come from people who were drinking legally. Almost all gun-related costs to the city come from people who were not using guns legally, and thus would not be affected by this tax.

I could be wrong but, isn’t California a preemption state?

henrybowman | July 3, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Unconstitutional on its face, by established precedent. This should be a slam-dunk for any lawyer.

“A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution… The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these freedoms is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has repeatedly struck down… a person cannot be compelled ‘to purchase, through a license fee or a license tax, the privilege freely granted by the constitution.'”

    alaskabob in reply to henrybowman. | July 3, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Nailed it… but remember California is a “nation=state” according to Newsom.

    OldProf2 in reply to henrybowman. | July 3, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Question from non-lawyer: How do states such as NY, IL, CT, etc manage to avoid lawsuits regarding their fees to get Firearms Owner ID Card, Concealed Weapon permit, etc.?
    This should be just like voting. You prove who you are, and you get the ID card no charge.

      w3woody in reply to OldProf2. | July 4, 2021 at 10:26 am

      I’m guessing here, and I am not a lawyer, but I believe these are processing fees. Meaning you can charge a reasonable fee for a permit or service or license (regardless of the nature of that permit–like the charge for pulling a permit to add a room to your home, or getting a dog license) to cover or offset the costs of processing that permit.

      What the city is attempting to do is not just charge a reasonable fee to cover processing costs, but to impose an additional tax in order to offset what they claim are the costs caused by gun ownership.

        Publius_2020 in reply to w3woody. | July 5, 2021 at 11:32 am

        In Murdock, the Supreme Court distinguishes between a license fee “fixed in amount and unrelated to the scope of the activities of petitioners or to their realized revenues,” on the one hand, and a “nominal fee imposed as a regulatory measure to defray the expense of policing the activities in question.”

        The former is unconstitutional because it serves no purpose other than to restrict constitutional rights; the latter is acceptable. Thus, a nominal fee associated with processing a permit or issuing an ID card passes muster.

    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | July 4, 2021 at 3:15 am

    Then how are states and cities allowed to tax books and newspapers?

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | July 5, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Just a guess, but perhaps (1) if the tax is general and broad and not aimed at a specific right, or (2) the governments are simply ignoring this precedent.

    PODKen in reply to henrybowman. | July 4, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    It’s California … where the Constitution and law are irrelevant … nothing is a slam dunk … anything can happen here.

Once again, that whole, “shall not be infringed” thing is completely ignored.

This is akin to a poll tax. The calculated societal cost is way too high to be reasonable. Legal ownership has nothing to do with criminal use and as pointed out in these responses one could tax everything for “use” in a crime. Only selecting one product for punitive taxation may be illegal. Also, where would that tax money go? Surely , not to crime prevention..

    henrybowman in reply to alaskabob. | July 3, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Right. It actually makes less sense to tax legal gun owners for violent crime that it would make to tax lenient DAs and parole boards for it.
    Why not tax all men for the costs of rape? After all, we all have penises.

    Milhouse in reply to alaskabob. | July 4, 2021 at 3:18 am

    There’s nothing wrong with poll taxes. But they’re unpopular because by their nature they’re “regressive”, and I don’t know of anywhere that has introduced them in living memory. Margaret Thatcher tried introducing them in the UK to pay for municipal services that everyone benefits from equally, and so ought by rights to pay equally, and the outraged protests by the left were so big and so violent that she backed down.

      CommoChief in reply to Milhouse. | July 4, 2021 at 12:31 pm


      How about a head tax instead? Simply add a line on current tax forms. As a head tax is applied equally in an apportioned manner then States who might fudge their population numbers would have a counter balance.

      Maybe set the tax at $5 per day per person. Sixty $ per month and $720 per year. Every person would have to file or be accounted for as a dependent.

      Where a State fell short in individual compliance then deduct the shortage from Federal transfers to that State across all direct transfers to that State.

        vinnymeyer in reply to CommoChief. | July 4, 2021 at 8:28 pm

        Line on tax form:

        How many heads do you possess?

        Milhouse in reply to CommoChief. | July 4, 2021 at 11:52 pm

        CommoChief, that’s what I said. A poll tax. “Head tax” is just another word for it.

        I don’t get what you think states have to do with it. First of all we’re talking about a city tax. But if you’ve switched to a federal tax, then a flat poll tax is by definition apportioned according to the population, so there’s no problem there. I still don’t get what you mean by states fudging their populations, or why federal payments to a state should be affected by the failure of some citizens of that state to pay their taxes. What has that got to do with the state?

      CommoChief in reply to Milhouse. | July 4, 2021 at 12:56 pm


      Should be $2 not $5, flipping TBI !!!

      I chose $2 as most people piss at least that much away every day so ability to pay arguments seem groundless.

      A *bucks ‘tall fresh brew coffee comes in at $1.85 each. A single cigarette per day comes in at ¢.53 per day. A McD happy meal is $2.99.

The Communists grow more aggressive everyday.

    TX-rifraph in reply to MAJack. | July 3, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    They obviously fear armed citizens as do the common criminals of the street.

    They are not this stupid. They are desperate. They must disarm the citizens to cement the coup.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to MAJack. | July 3, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    We need a new McCarthy to deal with Marxists, just as soon as we get back control of government.

Some of the “legal beagles” can answer this, but I think that has been tried before elsewhere – and was struck down.

Great job San Jose! Now apply the same logic of this and other gun laws to prescription drugs.

Both the firearms and prescription drugs are heavily regulated by CA and it’s political subdivisions. The illegal possession or use of both products create financial burdens upon the taxpayers.

2smartforlibs | July 3, 2021 at 1:59 pm

Pretty certain the SCOTUS has already slapped them down on similar BS.

Anybody thinking about moving to California should think twice or maybe even three times.

Colonel Travis | July 3, 2021 at 3:36 pm

Several years ago Seattle added new taxes to guns and ammo. The Washington Supreme Court said this was just peachy. Until someone actually stops this BS, what the Constitution says doesn’t matter.

Looking back, what happened in Seattle? Gun stores left, tax revenue is a fraction of what it was claimed it would be, crime went up. Well, that means the people who enacted this law were stupid, right? I would argue no. In this case it was all about punishing gun people. If others suffer, that’s merely egg-breaking for the Grand Omelet. The city of Tacoma decided last year to do this same kind of tax.

Unchecked, the left does not care about the damage in order to get its way. They are repugnant people who must be defeated. There is no compromise, they simply have to be eliminated from power. Unfortunately, we live in an era where too many are either too scared to fight or are A-OK with tyranny.

“So the logic here is to charge law abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals?”
So what do you think our tax dollars are paying the police to do now?

How about forcing criminals to pay?

San Jose gun owners should just quietly ignore this, and not do anything stupid like get involved in a domestic violence incident or anything else that would result in a law enforcement response. Mayor Leccaculo would never be any the wiser about who does or does not possess firearms.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to CDR D. | July 3, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Registration, they most certainly will be willing to make examples of people

      Handguns sold since 1992 and long guns sold since 2014 are the only ones where registration records are maintained by Sacramento. Those guns originally sold before those dates are not subject to mandatory retroactive registration requirements. Only if the gun is subsequently transferred (supposed to go through a dealer), and there really is no way for them to enforce that, because they don’t know the gun exists

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to CDR D. | July 3, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    I’m sure the police will be only too eager to enforce this. 1) they follow orders, 2) there is likely an exemption for LEOs.

      People need to understand how important #1 is.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | July 3, 2021 at 8:06 pm

      I am not so sure you have a good source within the police.
      Those I know don’t like this stuff. At all.

      There most likely will be an exemption for LEOs since the state allows them to be armed 24/7. Then there are the retired LEOs– the people the current officers worked for and were trained by, and in many cases looked upon as some kind of deity. I doubt they will be kicking down their former FTO’s door to collect an illegal tax. The city fools, errr council, is playing with fire.

How do they collect from the hood rats?

Gun violence in San José costs taxpayers $442 million. That’s $2.2 million in taxes *per gun violence victim*. The Second Amendment protects the rights of Americans to own guns but doesn’t require taxpayers to subsidize gun ownership

So tax the victims to pay for it. Or charge them a fee for the services provided to them. Or something. That may not make a lot of sense, but it makes much more sense than to tax gun owners, who do not contribute in any way to these costs, or have any connection at all to them. Taxing gun owners to pay for this makes as much sense as taxing cyclists, or Jews.

(cue early 20th century joke: “All of our problems are the fault of the Jews and the cyclists.”. “Why the cyclists?” “Well, why the Jews?”)

We shall see. As Roberts wrote in his NFIB decision, the differences between a tax and a penalty are clear, and the courts should look at what it is, not what the legislature calls it. He cited a 1930s case for the criteria that distinguish a tax from a penalty. One of them is whether the rate is set low enough to be affordable by most people, and it’s expected that most people will pay it rather than change their behavior, or whether it’s so high that it’s expected to generate little or no revenue because people will change their behavior rather than pay it. If the latter it’s a penalty, and thus may be unconstitutional.

But where a tax is levied on a constitutionally protected object, such as books or guns, even one that’s affordable should attract extra scrutiny. It’s clear that such things can be taxed; but the rate of the tax should not unduly burden the exercise of constitutional rights. E.g. there’s no problem with taxing the sale of books at the same rate as all other sales in the jurisdiction, but I doubt a 20% extra tax on books on top of that would pass muster.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | July 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

    That the plain text of the bill and the debate around the bill said one thing, and that the judiciary looked at that bill and saw something else should have resulted in the legislation being returned to the legislature for clarification or amendment to make it conform to legal requirements. It should not have been judicially amended. The precedent is that court may peer into a law and see whatever it desires, and basically rewrite the legislation to serve its view on the matter.

    The better course of action would have been to say the legislation is deficient. “You say it’s a penalty, but it looks like a tax. As a penalty it is unconstitutional. As a tax we have no objection. Go back and fix it.”

    The court should not have attempted to fix the legislation if they found it deficient. That’s the legislatures prerogative. If they refuse to fix it, it stays dead. Sorry they have to do some work, but the court is not the legislature.

    Under that ruling, the precedent is you never know what a law says until you are hauled in front of a court and judge peers into the law and decides for himself what it means. It is a ruling for legal anarchy.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | July 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

Where I live, the local ambulance service sends a bill to the hospital for transporting patients to the hospital. The hospital then adds that charge to the patient’s bill… similar to a physician adding their fees to a hospital bill.

So, I suggest that the police, fire, and other public services send a bill to the people who use their services. If a community or a particular house has frequent police intervention, then they should pay for the service.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to AF_Chief_Master_Sgt. | July 4, 2021 at 9:41 am

    In fact, some localities do that with alarm services. If a business or residence generates an “excessive” number of false alarms in a given period they are hit with a charge (fee or tax, its still out of pocket), or they are put on “no response” status. Some places even do this (unofficially) with “chronic callers”, usually long standing members of the tinfoil hat brigade.

So, by this logic–given that the underlying driver of all police brutality cases are the enforcement of laws written by lawmakers, can we impose a tax on lawmakers (as individuals) to offset the cost of every law they pass?

Publius_2020 | July 5, 2021 at 12:01 pm

It seems clear that San Jose would seek to justify the tax under the regulatory exemptions in the commerce clause cases, and to avoid the prohibitions discussed in Murdock v. Pennsylvania. A lot ultimately depends on the notion of “nominal fee” and the degree of connection between the fee and the asserted “expenses” that the City claims to be defraying.

There are 1M residents in San Jose. If we assume that 100,000 are gun owners (based roughly on California ownership percentages), then it would require a yearly tax of over $300 per owner to credibly offset a material portion of the asserted “costs.” It is hard to imagine how this passes muster under the ‘nominal fee’ language of Murdock.

I would guess that the proponents and their lawyers are not stupid, and are politicians — which suggests that they will err on the side of a low fee in order to establish the precedent (and claim political victory). Thus, something closer to the Seattle fee of $25 is more likely. That will raise only $2.5M, which won’t do much to offset any asserted costs, but that’s not really their goal. What they really want is the political credit for “doing something,” and to establish the precedent that they are allowed to do this.