Presidential hopeful Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat running for the White House, announced an aggressive plan that would reshape American gun laws from the bottom up.
Self-described as “the most sweeping gun violence prevention proposal ever advanced by a presidential candidate,” Booker’s 16-point plan was announced by the current junior U.S. Senator from the Garden State on Monday.
“To make justice a reality for all, we have to end the epidemic of gun violence and invest in communities that have been shattered by the trauma left in its wake,” said Booker, the 50-year-old former mayor of Newark. “To do that, we need to adopt a plan that introduces aggressive gun safety measures — the most forward-leaning this country has ever seen.”
His plan, to be implemented through a mix of new laws and executive actions would:
- Require those who want to own a gun to first obtain a federally-issued gun license “similar to applying for or renewing a passport.” The five-year licenses would require the applicant to submit fingerprints, pass a background check and meet a firearms training requirement.
- End legal protections under federal law provided by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to the gun industry against frivolous lawsuits and instead put the sector under the purview of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Adopted in 2005, PLCAA provided a shield against civil action lawsuits brought against gun makers by several cities– to include Newark.
- Require that new models of semi-automatic handguns sold in the United States include controversial microstamping technology. California adopted a similar requirement in 2013, which has had the effect of closing off the commercial market in that state to pistols designed since then as gun makers say the technology is not mature enough for production.
- Adopt universal background checks on virtually all gun transfers.
- Ban “assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks,” although the latter is already the subject of rulemaking by federal gun regulators.
- Give the Centers for Disease Control federal funding to study gun deaths as a health care issue.
- Increase funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
- Ration handgun sales to a maximum of one per month.
- Incentivize states to adopt controversial extreme risk protection order programs, the so-called “red flag laws” which allow a judge to issue temporary gun seizure orders without the gun owner appearing before the court.
- Mandate that gun owners who have had a firearm lost or stolen report the loss to police under threat of a fine.
- Pay for urban centers to install acoustic gunshot detection systems through a federal grant program.
- Direct the IRS to investigate the NRA’s tax status.
Booker’s plan brought quick and immediate endorsement from national anti-gun groups with John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, saying. “There is no question that gun safety will be a defining issue of the 2020 campaign.”
Across the aisle from Booker, several Senate Republicans blasted the would-be 46th President’s agenda. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, said “the latest terrible idea to come out of the Democrats’ 2020 primary is a federal gun registry. If you want to buy a gun, Cory Booker wants you to register with the federal government. This would be scary if Booker had any chance of becoming President.”