Booker pitches sweeping plan to fight gun violence

Booker pitches sweeping plan to fight gun violence
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race MORE (D-N.J.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, on Monday unveiled a slew of initiatives aimed at combating gun violence and said that if he wins the White House he would take executive action on the issue "on Day One."

Booker's campaign released a 15-point plan to address the "Gun Violence Epidemic," which includes a proposed licensing program. The concept would require gun owners to acquire a license similar to a passport or driver's license that shows they are able to meet "certain basic safety and training standards necessary to own a gun."

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Under the New Jersey Democrat's proposal, those seeking to own a firearm could go to a designated local office and undergo a federal background check and complete a gun safety course. The license would be valid for up to five years before renewal, the campaign said.

Another highlight of the plan is the proposal to fund research on gun violence as a public health issue. It has been more than 20 years since a spending bill has included funding for gun violence research and House Democrats recently proposed $50 million in funding for federal agencies to study gun violence.

Other parts of Booker's plan include reforming oversight of gun manufacturers, requiring background checks for "every gun sale" and limiting gun buyers to one handgun purchase per month.

"I am sick of hearing only thoughts and prayers for the communities that have been shattered by gun violence," Booker said in a fundraising email promoting his agenda. "It is horrific that Americans have to live in fear of going to their houses of worship, schools, or movie theaters."

Booker's agenda on gun violence is likely to draw blowback from the National Rifle Association and Republicans. He is the latest 2020 candidate proposing actions to curb gun violence.

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellFundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 jitters hit both parties in the Senate MORE (D-Calif.) has made ending gun violence a central issue of his campaign, and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.) has also pledged to take executive action if elected to address the issue.

House Democrats passed two gun control bills earlier this year. One would extend the three-day background check period to 10 days, while the other would require private parties to sell or transfer guns only through licensed gun dealers who are required to conduct background checks.

Neither bill has been taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate.