By: José Niño
According to United States District Judge Beth Freeman’s ruling on July 13, 2023, the city of San Jose, California’s gun ownership insurance mandate does not infringe on the Second Amendment.
In effect, Freeman ruled against the National Association for Gun Rights’ (NAGR) lawsuit. According to Freeman’s ruling, the city’s mandate for gun owners to pay a fee to an anti-gun violence charity organization and acquire insurance is constitutional. She determined that the regulations complied with the Supreme Court’s new history-based test for gun control laws and did not infringe on residents’ Second Amendment rights.
“The City has demonstrated that the Insurance Requirement is consistent with the Nation’s historical traditions,” Judge Freeman declared in NAGR v. San Jose. “Although the Insurance Regulation is not a ‘dead ringer’ for 19th century surety laws, the other similarities between the two laws would render the Ordinance ‘analogous enough to pass constitutional muster.’
Furthermore, Judge Freeman ruled that the gun ownership fee did not constitute a tax under California law and didn’t need voter approval owing to how it goes to a non-profit organization as opposed to the government.
“Because the City Manager has not promulgated regulations identifying the Nonprofit’s activities, the Court cannot determine if the Fee would fund any expressive activities and thereby remains unfit for judicial determination,” she wrote in the opinion. “Additionally, Plaintiffs still have not highlighted any hardship they would suffer from the Court withholding consideration at this time.”
She additionally determined that the fee wasn’t large enough to constitute an infringement on the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights.
“The Court determines that the Fee is constitutional,” Judge Freeman said in the ruling opinion. “The $25 amount is by no means ‘exorbitant.’ And the Court notes that there is a financial hardship exemption under which individual for whom compliance would create financial hardship are exempted from the Ordinance. This is not a situation where ‘exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.’”
Judge Freeman determined that the insurance mandate doesn’t infringe on the Second Amendment for various reasons, which include the assertion that gun ownership without insurance isn’t safeguarded by the text of the Second Amendment.
“Plaintiffs argue that surety laws are distinguishable because these laws imposed a financial burden ‘only after an individual was reasonably accused on intending to injure another or breach the peace,’” she stated in the opinion. “The Court rejected this argument in its Preliminary Injunction Order, stating that while NAGR Plaintiffs have identified a fair distinction between surety laws and the Insurance Requirement, the distinction ultimately does not bear upon the metrics identified in Bruen.”
Such a victory is big for Gun Control Inc. which has been looking to use municipalities as a launch pad for its broader gun control projects. This demonstrates the importance of gun owners getting involved at the local level. This is where would-be tyrants get their political careers started. It’s also where model legislation that’s pushed at the federal level has its origins.
For that reason, gun control measures at all levels of government must be steadfastly opposed.