Mayor Sam Liccardo unveils plan to strengthen local gun laws

California is home to some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, but San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says they don’t go far enough. The mayor on Tuesday announced a plan to strengthen the city’s decades-old gun safety law to fight straw purchases and stop black-market gun sales.

“A significant percentage of guns are entering our community from legal gun shops,” Liccardo said. “But they’re being purchased by people other than the ones who ultimately intend to carry and use the gun.”

His proposal, which was co-signed by Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, would revise many of the current law’s vendor requirements. If approved by the City Council, the proposal would require video or audio recording of transactions, stricter inventory checks, retailer staff training and other measures to prevent guns being purchased legally for someone who’s not allowed to own one.

The proposed law would also prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition at residencies and would require, “a license for the sale, transfer or advertisement of all concealable firearms and ammunition within the city.” The mayor’s proposal also calls for displaying information on gun laws and suicide prevention services at retailers.

If the state Legislature fails to pass restrictions on 3-D printed guns, Liccardo said he hopes city lawmakers will direct the city attorney to add rules around providing data for a 3-D printed firearm or ammunition.

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said that patrol officers confiscated more than 170 guns illegally-held by criminals last year. The department’s special forces unit confiscated even more.

“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,” he said. “We owe this commitment of reducing the accessibility of guns to those who should not have them to all victims of gun violence.”

Ben Nikitin, a senior at Westmont High School and co-director of March for Our Lives San José, said he supported the mayor’s initiative, especially in an age where school shootings have become all too prevalent.

Nikitin began advocating for stricter gun laws after last year’s shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where a former student killed 17 students and teachers. Since then, he said, there have been 31 shootings in K-12 schools.

“It is imperative that loopholes in current ordinances are eliminated and that the dangerous flow of guns to the black market is closed,” Nikitin said. “With these alterations, the youth will be far safer in San Jose.”

Liccardo said he hopes that San Jose can help lead the way in a regional effort to crackdown on straw purchasing. He also added that city staff has worked hard to ensure the new proposal is compliant with the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms.

The proposal is slated to come to the San Jose council in early March for priority setting.

Contact Grace Hase at grace@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @grace_hase on Twitter.

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