The council split the vote into two parts: the first approving the bulk of the bill, including the insurance provisions and the second approving the fee provisions. The insurance vote passed 10-1 while the fees vote passed 8-3.
The ordinance must be approved next month at its final reading in order to take effect in August.
A guns rights group has threatened to sue
Under San Jose’s measure, gun owners would be charged an annual $25 fee directed to a nonprofit set up to distribute funds to gun crime prevention and to victims of gun violence. The measure also would require gun owners to obtain liability insurance that would cover damage caused by their weapon.
The ordinance says people who fail to comply are subject to fines and could have firearms impounded “subject to a due process hearing.”
Lower premiums for those with gun safes, trigger locks and completed gun safety classes are expected to incentivize safer behavior.
As to enforcement, police officers crossing paths with gun owners would ask for proof of insurance, much like they do with car insurance during traffic stops, Liccardo explained.
While some would be exempt, including those in law enforcement and with concealed carry permits, pushback is expected, the mayor acknowledged.
“We’ve opposed this ordinance every step of the way and we will see this through to the end,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights and executive director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, told CNN in a statement before the vote.
“If the San Jose City Council actually votes to impose this ridiculous tax on the Constitutional right to gun ownership, our message is clear and simple: see you in court,” Brown said.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights in July sent a cease-and-desist letter to Liccardo and the council’s 10 members stating it intends to file suit as soon as the ordinance is passed. The group was reacting to a June 29 council action in which “you voted unanimously to have the City Attorney research and draft an ordinance that would impose a mandatory fee on gun owners and require them to buy gun liability insurance,” the letter states.
San Jose has identified a law firm that would represent the city on the issue at no charge, mayor’s spokesperson said.
CNN’s Andy Rose and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.