Courtney: The next San Jose mayor must be tough on gun violence
Homemade firearms recovered in early 2022 by San Jose and Santa Clara County law enforcement from a ghost gun factory in Willow Glen. File photo.

San Jose’s next mayor must be someone we can count on to protect our neighborhoods and families by keeping guns off our streets and away from those who shouldn’t have access to them—especially those suffering from serious mental issues.

That means our next mayor must strongly oppose any organization that blocks reasonable, common-sense laws and policies that prevent those who are too young, too unstable or too potentially violent from having access to firearms.

From what I’ve seen of mayoral candidate Matt Mahan’s record, he dramatically fails to meet this standard and has demonstrated incredibly bad judgement on this life and death matter.

This issue is personal for me. Just 14 months ago, my coworkers, friends and I were victims of workplace gun violence.

Why weren’t laws in place to prevent such perpetrators of mass shootings from having access to the guns used to shoot my innocent colleagues? What about the families in Uvalde, Texas whose lives are forever altered? They will never have the chance to be with their children again.

Look at the record of the NRA.

Red-flag laws allow family members or even doctors to petition a court to take away someone’s firearms for up to a year if they feel that person is a threat to themselves or others. The NRA has opposed such laws from being passed in every state.

What about laws that require a person to be 21 or older before buying a gun? When Florida enacted such a law, the NRA sued the state. If enacted this law could have prevented 19 children and two teachers from being brutally mowed down just a few months ago in Uvalde.

Federal laws that banned the use of certain assault rifles used to exist, but the NRA helped overturn them.

Now, let’s look at Mahan’s record.

He fully understood the positions of the NRA. Yet as the CEO of a social media company, he pitched the NRA to become a customer of his platform and use his product to get its message out.

That’s right. Even though Mahan knew exactly what the NRA stood for and their work to block legislation that would save lives, he still encouraged the NRA to use his company’s platform to organize and grow.

Just nine months after the Sandy Hook shooting in which 20 children died, Mahan made his pitch to solicit the NRA to become a customer of his company and make use of the firm’s social media platform. Just 14 months ago, I was a victim of gun violence. The trauma from this event is still there and hangs over our community.

When criticized for doing so, Mahan justified his actions by saying his personal views weren’t relevant and he supported democratic participation by all groups.

These arguments sound terribly hollow in the face of the grief and hardship faced by the families of those who have died from gun violence.

San Jose deserves a mayor who stands up for what is right and won’t put his or her views and values aside because he or she is trying to make a sale or expand a business or trying to win an election.

John Courtney is president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265.

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