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US San Jose mayor: Gun owners should cover the cost of gun violence (Opinion)

13:30  16 june  2021
13:30  16 june  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Just like COVID-19, gun violence is a public health crisis

  Just like COVID-19, gun violence is a public health crisis As we have fought tirelessly together to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time that we end the public health crisis that is gun violence. We have the collective power to create safer communities and shift away from the violence that we experience today to ensure a better tomorrow and beyond. Now is the time to take true action to honor the lives of those lost.Greg Jackson is the national advocacy director for Community Justice Action Fund.

In my city, a mass shooting took the lives of nine people at a transit rail yard in May. In the three weeks since, while friends and family have grieved over their devastating loss, San Jose suffered about 15 more episodes of gun violence, according to San Jose Police Department records received by my office.

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks during a press conference honoring nine people killed by a coworker in San Jose, California, in May. © Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group/AP/FILE Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks during a press conference honoring nine people killed by a coworker in San Jose, California, in May.

No longer do these facts startle; our nation has become desensitized to the ubiquity of gun violence. After each horror, prayers and platitudes precede what can only be described as a quiet conspiracy of congressional inaction and a distracting news cycle that anesthetizes our collective outrage. We move on.

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Grieving communities don't have the luxury of forgetting. We live among devastated family members, we hear the echoes of painful eulogies, and we work with traumatized friends.

I joined several colleagues to propose a comprehensive set of initiatives to reduce gun-related harm in San Jose. These proposals include two measures that no other city nor state in the United States has ever tried: mandatory gun insurance to support victims, and mandatory gun fees to compensate taxpayers. As with many other Silicon Valley innovations, we intend to implement and test these ideas, learn from our mistakes, improve, iterate and provide a platform for others to scale them to benefit their own communities.

First, we will require every gun owner in my city to have liability insurance, regardless of where they purchased their gun. Insurance compensates the victims of unintentional gun harm -- which annually injures 27,000 Americans and claims the lives of 500 more -- paying medical bills, rehabilitative needs, and tragically, funeral expenses.

San Jose mayor proposes gun owners carry insurance, pay annual fee in wake of rail yard shooting

  San Jose mayor proposes gun owners carry insurance, pay annual fee in wake of rail yard shooting The mayor of San Jose proposed requiring gun owners to carry insurance and pay an annual fee to pay for the aftermath of gun violence on Tuesday following a shooting at a rail yard in the city that killed nine people."With council approval San Jose would become the first city in the United States to require every gun owner to have liability insurance coverage for their firearms. Second, San Jose would become the first U.S. city to require gun owners to pay a fee to compensate taxpayers for the public cost of responding to gun violence," Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) said, KPIX reported.

Insurance also incentivizes safe gun ownership, where risk-adjusted premiums might encourage owners to take gun-safety courses, use gun safes or install child-safety locks. In the context of auto safety, insurers rewarding good driving or the use of airbags have reduced per-mile auto fatalities by 80% in five decades, saving 3.5 million lives. We need a similar approach to address unintentional firearm risk, because 4.6 million children live in a household where a gun is kept unlocked and loaded, and three-quarters of gun injuries occur at home.


Video: Officials say the gunman took his own life after killing 8 people in San Jose, California (CNN)

Second, we will require gun owners to pay a modest annual fee to compensate taxpayers for the cost of gun-related violence. Every day, our residents bear the financial burden for police officers who bravely respond to shootings, for ambulances that transport the wounded, and for trauma surgeons to save them. These direct costs of gun violence to California taxpayers -- to say nothing of the costs to victims or their families -- exceeded $1.4 billion in 2018, a sum equivalent to the entire General Fund budget of my city, America's 10th largest.

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Many like to point to the Second Amendment to skew the discussion on much needed gun reform. And while it protects the rights of citizens to own guns, it doesn't require the public to subsidize gun ownership.

Skeptics will say that criminals won't comply. They're right; yet that's an important feature of these proposals, not a defect. These ordinances create a legal mandate that provides police with a lawful means for seizing guns from non-law-abiding, dangerous people.

The response to every officer's call for domestic violence in my city, for example, includes the question, "do you have any guns in the home?" If that gun owner lacks proof of payment or insurance, the police can seize the gun -- and dramatically reduce the lethality of the risk to the victim. Of course, the benefits can be more widespread: the majority of mass shootings in the US victimize intimate partners or otherwise involve domestic violence.

These proposals won't magically stop gun violence. We can develop a vaccine to stop a single virus, but no panacea exists for an epidemic of gun violence that involves the presence of at least 300 million potential weapons in the US. Public health approaches that have saved millions of lives otherwise lost for reasons related to smoking, driving or alcohol emphasize a multifaceted approach.

New York City's mayoral race is all about police, crime. Will Ocasio-Cortez endorsement give progressives a boost?

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So too, to reduce gun harm, we'll need many interventions -- both innovative and familiar ones.

In San Jose, we've proposed to bolster California's "red flag" law -- which authorizes courts to temporarily seize firearms from anyone believed to be a danger to themselves or others -- and to better inform our community to know how to use it. We will ban untraceable "ghost guns." We will crack down on straw purchasing -- such as by videotaping every gun store transaction -- to ensure that criminals can't buy guns through stand-ins.

Above all, we will do more to look out for one another, such as by coordinating early mental health interventions where family members or coworkers observe troubling signs of distress. We can crowd-source vigilance -- and compassion -- from our community.

We have all suffered enough, through 40,000 annual firearm-related deaths, 71,000 injuries, and millions of broken hearts. The reason is no secret: we live in a nation with more guns than adults. Yet we can make both safer. It's time to move beyond prayers and platitudes to action.

Sam Liccardo wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera © c/o Sam Liccardo Sam Liccardo

As gun violence soars, Biden to target rogue dealers, illegal firearms in new crime strategy .
Gun deaths in the U.S. this year are up more than 20% over 2020. Joe Biden is launching a strategy to take on the rising violence.In a White House speech, Biden will announce a crime prevention strategy that includes establishing a "zero tolerance policy" for rogue gun dealers and steps to stop the illegal trafficking of firearms, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

usr: 6
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