Mayor Sam Liccardo caught heat on social media after Dana Loesch, a vocal and controversial spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, took aim via Twitter at his newly-unveiled gun laws overhaul proposal.
“Think of the craziest gun control law out there, and I guarantee you that California lawmakers can come up with something more ridiculous,” Loesch said during a recording of her NRA TV show, Relentless. “Mayor Sam Liccardo is pushing for city legislation that would require — get this — every single firearms transaction to be recorded. It’s like a defacto registry. Both video recording, and audio recording.”
"Mayor @sliccardo is pushing for city legislation that would require every single firearms transaction to be recorded… Both video recording and audio recording. That's a gun registry. It's a registry of firearm owners." —@DLoesch pic.twitter.com/SsdqhdMho4
— NRATV (@NRATV) February 25, 2019
Liccardo told San José Spotlight Tuesday afternoon that he was unaware he had replied to the NRA and Loesch in a tweet, saying “I can’t claim authorship.” He added that his communications team, which often tweets from his account, authored the initial reply.
“Happy Monday @DLoesch/@NRA: Thx for spreading the word about our new gun safety proposal. In the hour it took you to shoot & edit this video, 4 people died from gun violence,” the tweet reads. “@ Other U.S. cities: feel free to DM me if you’d like a copy of our proposal to use as a template.“
@ Other U.S. cities: feel free to DM me if you’d like a copy of our proposal to use as a template. https://t.co/0p4J6lXnVL
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) February 25, 2019
The mayor’s new proposal, co-signed by vice-mayor Chappie Jones, would impose stricter gun purchasing and sales requirements on firearm vendors, more mandatory staff training, both video and audio recording of purchases and more.
Loesch asked for the mayor to be a guest on her show, again tweeting, “If you would like to join me live on air to discuss your proposal I’ll be happy to send a car to take you to the nearest studio.”
The mayor said he would need to review his Twitter account to catch up on the beef, but said he will likely not be interviewing with Loesch or the NRA, noting, “I have a more important set of constituents.” Liccardo said he’d rather direct attention to the fact that “unfortunately, there are too many kids who are victims of gun violence in our city.”
Social media accounts from both sides of the aisle chimed in with replies, some criticizing the mayor and others applauding his initiative. The short online exchange reached coast-to-coast, with replies coming in from across the country.
“It’s not a registry but firearm registries are awesome. Time for national licensing and registration,” Ladd Everitt, director for LGBTQ activist group One Pulse For America, tweeted.
It’s not a registry but firearm registries are awesome. Time for national licensing and registration.
— Ladd Everitt (@LaddEveritt) February 26, 2019
His advocacy organization was founded by actor George Takei following the June 2016 mass shooting in Orlando when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub, killing 49. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in America. The following year, another gunman used a bump stock — a mechanism which aids in the rapid disbursement of bullets from a rifle — to murder 58 and injure hundreds more at a concert in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas massacre, now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, prompted gun control activists and lawmakers to push for a federal ban on the rifle-modifying-devices. On Tuesday, a federal judge upheld a Trump administration ban on bump stocks — something which “disappointed” the NRA, according to the AP.
Everitt challenged the NRA for calling out the mayor’s proposal.
“The NRA is very scared of licensing and registration because licensing and registration is really the only effective way to disarm violent people,” Everitt told San José Spotlight.
While some of Liccardo’s supporters are enthusiastic about the new regulations for city gun purchases, at least one San Jose firearm manufacturer is not. Marc Soulie, owner and operator of Spartan Precision Rifles, a specialized and custom rifle builder, said the mayor’s proposal will “clearly do nothing but to appeal to his voting base.”
He said requiring audio and video recordings of firearm purchases “won’t accomplish anything.”
“It would definitely be a burden on gun shop owners. It will raise their fees…it will cost them more time,” Soulie said. “If I were purchasing [a gun], and I were subjected to a video and audio recording, that would really annoy me. I would just go buy one in Milpitas or Morgan Hill.”
He expressed further frustrations with California lawmakers and gun control measures.
“And one of our biggest complaints as gun owners are the laws are not enforced already as it is,” said Soulie, adding that instead of recording gun purchases, “we want to see stricter penalties for those who use firearms in crimes.”
Contact Kyle Martin at [email protected] or follow him @Kyle_Martin35 on Twitter.