Cory Booker Proposes Nationwide Licensing For All Gun Owners

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Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who is seeking his party’s nomination for president in 2020, proposed licensing for all gun owners nationwide, the Associated Press (via Yahoo News) reports.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia all have some form of licensing or permit requirements for gun owners. Booker, however, wants to see that enacted nationwide.

“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,” he said.

Booker also provided some specifics by what he meant by “bold action.”

For starters, Booker proposes universal background checks for all gun owners; a proposal echoed by other Democrats and even some Republicans. He also proposes a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity firearm magazines; also a proposal that’s been raised before.

One new proposal offered by Booker includes “modernizing” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As The Trace reported in 2017, the agency is underfunded and lacks oversight. That’s resulted in botched operations and an inability to operate smoothly.

Booker’s proposal also includes closing certain loopholes in existing laws, such as a loophole that allows people on federal terror watch lists to still be able to purchase guns. Another aspect of his proposal gives the Consumer Products Safety Commission the authority to put warnings on firearms and recall them, if necessary.

The heart of Booker’s gun-control proposal, however, is licensing. Anyone seeking a gun license would be fingerprinted, interviewed, and would have to go through a federal background check, according to Axios.

Current gun owners and new gun owners would be subject to the same licensing requirements, but current owners would have a “transition period” to allow them to come into compliance. It remains unclear, as of this writing, what would be done about current gun owners who do not retroactively get licensed.

However, The Washington Examiner noted that CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Booker if he thought non-compliant gun owners should be “thrown in jail.” Booker responded that he thinks law enforcement should step in if gun owners don’t comply within a “reasonable” amount of time, but again, did not give specifics.

“The critical thing is, I think most Americans agree, that these weapons of war should not be on our streets.”

Booker’s proposal would likely face steep opposition in Congress. Even in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, his bill would face a “steep climb,” according to AP writer Elana Schor. And in the Republican-controlled Senate, his bill would have an even harder time gaining approval, she suggested.