- Loren Elliott/Reuters
- Sen. Cory Booker on Monday announced an expansive new plan to combat gun violence.
- “The plan starts with a simple idea: if you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun,” Booker’s 2020 campaign said in a press release.
- The plan also calls for universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and an investigation into the National Rifle Association.
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Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey on Monday unveiled a new plan to combat gun violence that would make purchasing a firearm a lot like obtaining a driver’s license.
“The plan starts with a simple idea: if you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun,” Booker’s 2020 campaign said in a press release, which described his plan as “the most sweeping gun violence prevention proposal ever put forth by a presidential candidate.”
Booker is calling for a national gun licensing program that would require anyone who wants to purchase a firearm to go to a designated local office to submit an application, submit fingerprints for an FBI background check, provide “basic background information,” and “demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course.”
If the FBI verified the submission of the required materials a license would then be issued and the person possessing it could “freely purchase and own firearms.”
To bolster his case for this policy, Booker pointed to research that showed a 40% reduction in gun killings in Connecticut after it passed a law requiring a purchasing license for handguns.
Beyond the gun license requirement, here are the other key aspects of Booker’s plan:
- Institute federal oversight over gun manufacturers via the Consumer Product Safety Commission to “ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.”
- End legal immunity for gun manufacturers so that victims of gun violence can “have their day in court when a gun dealer or manufacturer has acted negligently.”
- Make it easier for law enforcement to identify and trace the source of ammunition used in crimes via handgun microstamping technology, which makes a shell casing traceable to the specific gun that fired the round.
- End what is known as the “boyfriend loophole.” Laws currently on the books prohibit a spouse or formerly married partner convicted of abuse or under a restraining order from purchasing a gun. But this does not extend to dating partners or former dating partners guilty of the same type of abuse and Booker wants to change that.
- Institute universal background checks that would prevent people from privately purchasing firearms without a background check, which federal law currently allows in select circumstances.
- Ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.
- Provide federal funds for research on gun violence and increase funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
- Limit gun buyers to purchasing one handgun per month.
- Increase federal funding for local initiatives, including law enforcement programs, dedicated to addressing and combatting gun violence.
- Have the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigate the National Rifle Association (NRA) to conclude “whether certain activities recently reported in the news media should lead to revocation of its tax-exempt status.” A person with close knowledge of Booker’s plan told INSIDER the senator is “referring to activities recently reported in the New Yorker and elsewhere, which raise flags regarding the NRA’s compliance under rules governing organizational tax-exempt status.”
- If elected, Booker pledged to take executive action on the first day of his presidency to implement a number of these policies.
“We will make it harder for people who should not have a gun to get one,” Booker said in a statement summarizing his plan.
Booker added, “I am sick and tired of hearing thoughts and prayers for the communities that have been shattered by gun violence – it is time for bold action.”
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.