San Jose, CA – San Jose lawmakers on Tuesday passed a new law that will require firearms retailers to film every gun sale they make, and keep the footage for at least 30 days.
The San Jose City Council unanimously approved the new law on June 15 which was designed to make the illegal practice of straw purchasing – buying a gun on behalf of another person who cannot legally purchase firearms – harder to get away with, the Mercury News reported.
“We know a significant number of crooks and gangs get firearms through straw purchasing,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “This set of ordinances is really focused on narrowing the flow of guns to those which are clearly legal and hopefully doing something to deter the flow of guns that are unlawful to own.”
The Sacramento-based Firearms Policy Coalition called the video ordinance “outrageous and unconstitutional,” the Mercury News reported.
The group said it wouldn’t hesitate to take the city to federal court over the new gun control policies and “take every possible action to block their enforcement.”
“It is outrageous that Mayor Liccardo wants to use Big Brother-style omniveillance to record gun owners’ every move, violating the privacy of millions, especially at-risk firearm purchasers,” the Firearms Police Coalition said in a statement. “This Orwellian requirement would be rightly universally opposed were the City to impose similar video and audio-recording mandates in mosques and churches, book stores, or abortion clinics.”
San Jose City Attorney Nora Frimann said most gun retailers already had video surveillance systems, the Mercury News reported.
Frimann said the new law would require them to record audio of the sale as well, and keep the videos for at least 30 days.
She said the point was to give law enforcement the chance to collect evidence during investigations of gun crimes, the Mercury News reported.
The city attorney said she wasn’t concerned about a legal challenge to the new law.
“We think we’ve threaded the needle on this, and what we’re bringing forward is defensible,” Frimann said.
The new law also banned the sale of guns or ammunition from residences in San Jose and mandated a license for gun transfers or sales, according to the Mercury News.
The ordinance will require gun dealers to annually maintain an inventory of firearms and ammunition, and train employees on how to spot a potential straw purchaser who was trying to buy a gun for somebody else, the Mercury News reported.
Gun sellers, who have three months to comply with the new law, will also have to post signs inside their businesses with information about gun laws, domestic violence, and suicide prevention.
The move was just one part of a 10-point gun control plan that the mayor unveiled on June 8, in the wake of a massacre at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the Associated Press reported.
A disgruntled VTA employee murdered nine co-workers and then killed himself on May 26.
Police said the shooter was armed with two semiautomatic handguns and was carrying 11 loaded magazines.
Liccardo’s 10-point plan called for the city council to pass another law that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance, the Mercury News reported.
The mayor also wanted gun owners to pay a fee to the city to cover the cost to the taxpayers for gun violence.
The city council said they would take up that proposal in the fall.
Under Liccardo’s proposal, gun owners who don’t pay up could have their weapons seized or be fined, the Mercury News reported.
The mayor initially announced his gun-control plan after two children were killed during a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019.
But that gunman in that case had an illegal weapon and had broken into a gun-free zone.
“This is nothing more than another thinly-veiled attempt to completely eliminate gun ownership and the constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves,” an angry San Jose resident told the Mercury News. “Tragedies like the one at the VTA, to which you are attempting to respond to, will not be eliminated by this regulation.”