MSNBC Hypes California Gun Fee, Compares It To Banning On-Air Profanity

As President Biden went to New York to tout his crime fighting plan, on Thrusday, MSNBC’s Katy Tur and Jake Ward used the occasion to hype one California city’s scheme to require gun owners to pay an annual fee and purchase liability insurance — all in the name of fighting gun violence.

After Tur summarized the law, she introduced Ward, who tried to claim that what San Jose was doing is no different than requiring people to purchase car insurance:

Well, Katy, you and I are used to the idea as Americans that in order to drive a car we have to carry insurance, and that’s, of course, in part, because we’re trying to defray the costs of more than 40,000 auto-related deaths every year. Well, firearms cause at least 45,000 deaths every year and yet until now there has not been a liability law, a liability insurance requirement around it. Well now, San Jose is experimenting with that idea.

A pre-recorded clip then started playing with Ward and Mayor Sam Liccardo discussing how the measure was inspired by a 2021 mass shooting in the city and how “Every single shooting costs cities like San Jose money. According to one independent study, as much as $35 million a year in San Jose in emergency, medical, and court costs.” 

Ward touted the city’s left-wing solution: “So San Jose is now going to require roughly 55,000 gun owners to carry firearm liability insurance and pay an annual $25 fee to support violence reduction and mental health programs.” He then made an effort to pretend to be a good journalist and provide the other side of argument by highlighting two gun owners, with one saying the measure wouldn’t stop criminals and the other arguing: “This is for a constitutional right, and we don’t do this with other constitutional rights.”

After highlighting the National Association for Gun Rights’ lawsuit, Ward then highlighted Liccardo’s absurd response: “The Second Amendment protects all of our rights to own a gun and possess a gun, but it doesn’t require our taxpayers to subsidize that right.”

“Subsidizing that right” would mean that San Jose is giving out guns to people for free, not allowing people to exercise their rights without having to first pay the government. Still, Ward agreed with Liccardo. Back live with Tur, he claimed gun rights’ advocates are wrong: “Now, Katy, the plaintiffs in this case say you cannot put an arbitrary cost on a constitutional right, but Mayor Liccardo points out that constitutional rights are not unlimited. You and I are not allowed to swear here on the air, there are rules around it.”

Tur concluded the segment by agreeing: “There are limits to all sorts of constitutional rights. You can’t just say whatever you want under the name of free speech in any scenario. You’re right about that.”

Ward was, in fact, not right. Ward and Tur can’t swear on the air, but the government doesn’t make them pay an annual fee for every swear word they utter in their private lives.  

This segment was sponsored by Progressive.

This is a transcript for the February 3 show:

Katy Tur Reports

2/3/2022

2:26 PM ET

KATY TUR: And President Biden is addressing gun violence in New York today and on the other side of the country while he is doing that, a city is taking matters into its own hands. San Jose will be the first city in the nation to require gun owners to pay a fee and carry liability insurance. Joining me now from San Jose is NBC News correspondent Jake Ward. So, Jake, explain this to us. 

JAKE WARD: Well, Katy, you and I are used to the idea as Americans that in order to drive a car we have to carry insurance, and that’s, of course, in part, because we’re trying to defray the costs of more than 40,000 auto-related deaths every year. Well, firearms cause at least 45,000 deaths every year and yet until now there has not been a liability law, a liability insurance requirement around it. Well now, San Jose is experimenting with that idea. 

[BEGIN VIDEO]

WARD: In May of 2021, a city worker killed ten people here in San Jose with three handguns legally purchased. 

LESTER HOLT [MAY 26, 2021]: The shooter targeting his co-workers. 

SAM LICCARDO [MAY 26, 2021] This is a very dark moment for our city. 

WARD: And Mayor Sam Liccardo says that is only the most visible form of gun violence in his city. 

LICCARDO: We had in the 13-day period after that horrific shooting at the rail yard, we had eight gun-involved deaths or serious injuries, this is what it is to be in America right now. 

WARD: Every single shooting costs cities like San Jose money. According to one independent study, as much as $35 million a year in San Jose in emergency, medical, and court costs. So San Jose is now going to require roughly 55,000 gun owners to carry firearm liability insurance and pay an annual $25 fee to support violence reduction and mental health programs. 

KEVIN BROGDAN [GUN OWNER]: It’s not going to affect the criminals at all because they they’re going to keep doing what they’re doing. 

UNNAMED MALE: This is for a constitutional right, and we don’t do this with other constitutional rights. 

WARD: That is the argument made in the lawsuit against San Jose by the National Association for Gun Rights. 

DUDLEY BROWN: It’s the same as you being required to pay a fee and get insurance just to air this show. 

WARD: Are you concerned that this could somehow become a national standard? 

BROWN: If our lawsuit doesn’t overturn this, it’s, it’s possible that other cities and states will, will seek legislation like this in an effort to curtail its citizens from practicing their Second Amendment rights and of course we want to stop this right now. 

WARD: Mayor Liccardo says San Jose respects the Second Amendment but cannot bear its cost. 

LICCARDO: The Second Amendment protects all of our rights to own a gun and possess a gun, but it doesn’t require our taxpayers to subsidize that right. 

[END CLIP]

WARD: Now, Katy, the plaintiffs in this case say you cannot put an arbitrary cost on a constitutional right, but Mayor Liccardo points out that constitutional rights are not unlimited. You and I are not allowed to swear here on the air, there are rules around it, and he says $1.4 billion in public money is spent here in California dealing with gun violence, he thinks that money could be put to better use, Katy. 

TUR: There are limits to all sorts of Constitutional rights. You can’t just say whatever you want under the name of free speech in any scenario. You’re right about that.

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