PA Bill Number: HB776
Title: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for the offense of undetectable firearms.
Description: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for the offense of undetectable firearms. ...
Last Action Date: Mar 30, 2023
FPC files First and Second Amendment lawsuit against San Jose's unconstitutional gun insurance scheme :: 05/02/2022
SAN JOSE, Calif. (April 26, 2022) – Today, attorneys for Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the City of San Jose’s ordinance requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance and pay a fee in order to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. FPC’s complaint argues that the mandate violates both the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. A copy of the complaint in Glass v. City of San Jose can be found at FPCLegal.org.
“The government may not impose a fee on the choice to exercise a constitutional right. But that is exactly what the Ordinance does,” the lawsuit states. “The government also may not restrict firearm ownership in ways that are wholly unknown to the Nation’s history and that fail entirely to advance the government’s asserted goals. Novelty is not a virtue here, and neither are restrictions for restriction’s sake. But the Ordinance is concededly novel, and it will neither improve public safety nor reduce the costs of gun violence. It will only burden those who already follow all firearm laws. Even City officials admit that, ‘[o]f course, criminals won’t obey insurance or fee mandates.’”
“The fee provision also violates the First Amendment,” the complaint further argues. “The Ordinance directs the City Manager to designate a nonprofit organization that will spend firearm owners’ money on ‘programs and initiatives’ to ‘mitigate’ the supposed ‘risk’ of the ‘possession of firearms…’ The fee provision thus forces firearm owners to associate with an organization of the City’s choosing and subsidize expressive activities of the organization’s choosing, in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.”
FPC seeks a judgment declaring the Ordinance unconstitutional on its face, permanently preventing the City of San Jose and its agents from enforcing the Ordinance. The lawsuit also seeks the awarding of damages for any loss attributable to the Ordinance incurred before final judgment, attorney’s fees, and any other relief that the Court deems just and proper.
“Governments cannot run roughshod over the constitutional rights of their People simply because they do not care for the rights they choose to exercise,” said FPC Vice President of Programs Adam Kraut. “San Jose’s gun-owner insurance requirement is a demonstrable attack on a right exercised that lies outside of the policy preferences of its Government. It is unfathomable to think that the elected officials of San Jose believed such an ordinance would survive a constitutional challenge, particularly when they admit that criminals will not obey the mandates contained within, leaving only the peaceable People of San Jose to be burdened by the ineptness of its Government. We look forward to aggressively litigating this matter on behalf of individuals in San Jose and striking down this unconstitutional Ordinance.”
Attorneys for the Plaintiffs include Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay of Benbrook Law Group, and David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson, and Joseph O. Masterman of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC.