San Jose Proposes New Gun Safety Measures

Gun stores would be required to record all transactions under the proposed regulations. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo introduced Tuesday a proposed series of gun safety measures he said would crack down on a rise in gun violence.

The measures include a number of requirements for licensed vendors:

  • All gun stores would have to make and keep video and audio recordings of every firearm or ammunition transaction.
  • All gun store staff would be trained to question potential purchasers, on the audio recording, in compliance with a checklist provided by the San Jose Police Department in an attempt to cut down on "straw purchases."
  • An annual inventory check would be required and any missing firearms or ammunition would have to be reported to the police.
  • Stores would need to display information on suicide prevention.

The regulations would also prohibit the sale of any guns or ammunition within or from a residence.

Liccardo said much of this is aimed at preventing "straw purchases," in which a customer buys a gun for somebody else.

"Every gun that enters a community, even if it's through the black market, at one point started with a retail sale. And so if we can do something at that point, we can have an impact," he said.

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Between 2001 and 2015, he said there were 363,000 guns legally sold in Santa Clara County, but many are "being purchased by people other than the ones who ultimately intend to carry and use the guns."

Both Liccardo and San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia noted that existing laws stop felons and those with criminal records from buying guns, but often gangs will use someone who is allowed to legally purchase a firearm to serve as a "straw purchaser." Under this proposal, gun store employees would be required to ask a checklist of questions, developed by the police and city attorney, in an effort to determine what the gun would be used for, who it's for and how it would be stored — all recorded on video and audio.

"It will give us another tool to help ensure that legally sold firearms are not falling into the hands of those who are prohibited from possessing them," said Garcia.

But the Big Brother aspect of recording all interactions concerns some.

"You know these proposed laws are unconstitutional. They're burdensome and quite frankly they're irrational," said Craig DeLuz, with the Firearms Policy Coalition. He said the recording requirement is also a violation of free speech and privacy laws, which means other civil rights groups will also take issue with the surveillance cameras.

He said if San Jose passes these regulations, then gun rights advocates will sue.

"This is simply virtue-signaling politicians, who have absolutely no respect for the Constitution or the right to keep and bear arms," he said

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The proposal also includes plans to update licensing requirements to include 3-D-printed firearms.

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