Grant Atkinson

June 18, 2021

-The Western Standard


The state of California has no shortage of policies that are both useless and overly restrictive. In the latest example of this phenomenon, the city of San Jose has passed an incredibly invasive new gun law.

According to The Mercury News, San Jose’s city council passed an ordinance from Mayor Sam Liccardo that will require video and audio recording of all firearm purchases. The decision to pass the ordinance was unanimous.

Liccardo claimed that the policy would deter “straw purchasing,” which is an illegal practice in which someone buys a gun on behalf of a person who is prohibited from doing so.

“We know a significant number of crooks and gangs get firearms through straw purchasing,” he 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.”

It does not take a genius to see the flaw in this plan. Just because you record the purchase of a firearm does not in any way deter the buyer from committing crimes after they leave the store.

If a criminal wants to engage in straw purchasing, they can still send someone to a firearms dealer to buy the gun on camera. That person would then simply meet the criminal and complete the exchange at another location after leaving the store.

The only way that videotaping may deter crime is if San Jose lawmakers carried cameras and followed around every gun owner for the rest of their lives. Given their willingness to infringe on others’ rights, we shouldn’t give them any ideas.

According to NBC News, the law was passed just weeks after a gunman killed nine people at a Northern California rail hub.

The gunman was an employee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, NBC reported. He shot down nine of his coworkers before shooting himself, and he died at the scene.

While this was certainly a tragedy, it is unclear how the new ordinance would have changed the situation at all. According to KRON-TV, the suspect legally owned the three semi-automatic handguns used in the shooting.

Video recording or not, he apparently could have purchased these guns without any serious setbacks. He also used high-capacity magazines that are banned in California, meaning he probably purchased them illegally somewhere else. This new ordinance would not address that problem, either.

By requiring these video and audio recordings, San Jose is violating citizens’ rights without even making progress towards its stated goal. It is not only invasive but also ineffective.

In addition, gun advocates in California have pointed out that the law unfairly subjects law-abiding citizens to an invasive level of surveillance.

“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,” Sacramento’s Firearms Policy 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.”

This point is exactly correct. This policy would never be enacted against people purchasing other legal goods, so there is no reason that it should be enacted against people who are legally purchasing a firearm.

Some San Jose citizens also expressed concern to the city council about the new ordinance and argued that it was much too radical.

“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,” said a community member who did not reveal their name.

“Tragedies like the one at the VTA, to which you are attempting to respond to, will not be eliminated by this regulation.”

This invasive policy is likely just the beginning of Liccardo’s radical agenda. The Mercury News reported that the mayor has also revealed a 10-point plan to curb gun violence, including a provision to “require gun owners to insure their weapons and pay a fee to cover taxpayer costs associated with firearm violence.”

Make no mistake: The left’s gun-grabbing efforts will not end with video and audio recordings. With each new un-American law that passes, the left will push further and further to restrict our freedoms.