San Diego Wants To Tax Constitutional Rights.

The city of San Diego has decided to tax legal owners of weapons within its city limits. In addition, the city is looking at requiring citizens to purchase liability insurance if they own a gun.

Gun owners in San Jose, California, will soon face a yearly tax and be required to carry additional insurance after their city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to impose the new measures.

The forthcoming fee for gun ownership in the city has not yet been determined, but officials said that anyone found to be in noncompliance will have their weapons confiscated.

The amount of the fee hasn’t been determined, but Mayor Sam Liccardo said Wednesday it would probably be “a couple dozen dollars” and would not be charged to those who could not afford it. He said insurers have advised the city that including gun coverage on their policies would add little or nothing to typical premium costs.

The Pacific Institute on Research and Evaluation has issued a preliminary report estimating that gun-related homicides, suicides and other shootings cost San Jose around $63 million annually. The city will await the institute’s final report, due this fall, before calculating its fees.

“The Second Amendment certainly protects the right of every citizen to own a gun,” Liccardo told reporters. “It does not mandate that taxpayers subsidize that right.”

Mayor Sam Liccardo praised the measures and said gun owners who do not comply with the new rules shouldn’t have guns.

“We won’t magically end gun violence, but we stop paying for it,” Liccardo said in a statement.

This is an easy one.

San Diego’s plan has already been ruled unConstitutional by the Supreme Court in a case called Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943).

The case revolved around the City of Jeannette, Pennsylvania charging for a solicitor license to sell things door to door in the City. This fee included Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed that the tax and fees were a violation of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth amendment.

A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution. Thus, it may not exact a license tax for the privilege of carrying on interstate commerce (McGoldrick v. Berwind-White Co., 309 U. S. 33, 309 U. S. 56-58), although it may tax the property used in, or the income derived from, that commerce, so long as those taxes are not discriminatory. Id., p. 309 U. S. 47, and cases cited. A license tax applied to activities guaranteed by the First Amendment would have the same destructive effect. It is true that the First Amendment, like the commerce clause, draws no distinction between license taxes, fixed sum taxes, and other kinds of taxes. But that is no reason why we should shut our eyes to the nature of the tax and its destructive influence. The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these freedoms is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has repeatedly struck down. Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U. S. 444; Schneider v. State, supra; Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296, 310 U. S. 306; Largent v. Texas, 318 U. S. 418; Jamison v. Texas, supra. (emphasis ours)

The Second Amendment enjoys no less protection than that of the First Amendment.

Furthermore, with the City claiming it will only tax some gun owners, that too was decided in the Murdock case where other sellers of goods were not charged a fee for selling products. The proposal fails on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment as well.

We feel like we are beating a dead horse sometimes, but the City Attorney for San Diego is named Mara W. Elliott. One would think she would look to guard the rights of citizens, but instead bows down to the illegal actions of the City Council. After all, she has to keep that appointed job rather than worry about those pesky rights and citizens.

We can but hope that a civil rights group attacks this nutty law in the Courts and wins.

It won’t stop the City and the Council from trying other unConstitutional things, but it may slow them down.

4 Responses to “San Diego Wants To Tax Constitutional Rights.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    Another attempt by the left to restrict the constitutional liberties of law abiding citizens through regulations and fees.

    The second amendment protects our rights and seems pretty clear. It states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” as the operative clause.

    These proposed laws are obviously an infringement and will most likely be struck down for this reason if someone takes them to court.

    Additionally, this law seems to unfairly penalize those in lower income brackets, they mention a way for people to become exempt from paying fees or having insurance but i can only imagine what kind of bureaucratic nightmare that would become which again would be an infringement on the rights of those folks.

    These clowns just keep trying to pick away at our constitutional rights and need to be thrown out of the office which they swore an oath to defend the constitution.

  2. Frank Hernandez says:

    San Diego and San Jose, Typical and predictable. One should expect such actions in the large cities of this strong leftist state. I have no intention to rant and rave about the ongoing and unending relentless assault on the legal possession of firearms by law abiding citizens. Rather, I am simply going to state that these actions are vividly clear and unhidden attacks on our constitutional civil rights. As loudly as California declares it’s position, so does West Virginia declare it’s own status. It is going to come down to if you do not enjoy life in California, move to somewhere else. Somewhere where they want you and where you have the freedom to enjoy life. By the way, these new proposed laws set forth new taxes in the most heavily taxed state in the union. Taxes no citizen has voted on, making them even more illegal, acting in complete opposite of current court rulings regarding taxation. Finally, in time, someone is going to sue the State of California and it’s elected officials for failing to be the elected advocates of the offices they hold and in fact acting completely opposite to the rights and wishes of the populous. A law suit the plaintive will win.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Frank Hernandez,

      Thank you for your comment.

      We certainly understand the idea that if a person doesn’t like California they should move out of the state. The problem is that the transplanted residents still bring California “values” with them to the new state. California is a big government state and people may not like what is taxed there, but when the move to a new state, they bring the basic principle of “big government” with them.

      Secondly, we were curious as to your claim:

      Taxes no citizen has voted on, making them even more illegal, acting in complete opposite of current court rulings regarding taxation.

      The California Constitution seems to require any new state taxes be voted upon by the citizens. However the laws in California allow the state government to cede to cities the ability to create and impose new taxes for local use. (See ARTICLE XIII TAXATION (Sec 24.))

      We know that in other states, there have been initiatives that require new taxes or even the level of taxation to be voter approved, but whether that includes a local tax in San Diego is something we are unsure of.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      A. Afterwit.