Hickenlooper: Gun owners should be licensed, pass safety test

Presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper unveiled a sweeping gun control plan Wednesday that he says would reduce violence from firearms if he were elected president.

The 22-point plan, which was uploaded to Medium, highlighted his work on gun control during his tenure as Colorado governor and included a wish list of Democratic priorities, including universal background checks, banning assault rifles, codifying the prohibition on bump stocks, raising the gun ownership age to 21 and limiting magazine capacities. 

Hickenlooper's plan also includes implementing a national gun licensing standard that would require gun owners to have a license renewed every five years and mandating gun owners to pass safety and storage training.

Another highlight of the proposal is its efforts to fund research on gun violence, an issue that has frustrated many Democrats.

The plan calls for initiating public-private partnerships to help with predictive analytics, saying law enforcement lacks the capacity "to do the deep research of every planned, thwarted or executed school attack."

Hickenlooper says he would also fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence prevention, money congressional Republicans have fought to block.

Other aspects of the plan include folding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into the FBI, banning the sale of silencers, outlawing 3D-printed guns and expanding mental health services.

Hickenlooper, who announced his presidential bid in March, has languished in national and statewide polls and fallen behind in campaign fundraising. He is facing off against a mushrooming primary field of 24 contenders, many of whom have higher name recognition and heftier campaign accounts. 

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), two other presidential hopefuls, also announced their own gun control proposals earlier this year. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) has made reforming gun laws the cornerstone of his White House bid. 

Gun control has increasingly become a top priority for Democrats who have been frustrated by government inaction in the face of a number of high-profile school shootings. 

House Democrats passed two gun control bills earlier this year that would extend the three-day background check period to 10 days and require private parties to restrict sales or transfers of guns to licensed gun dealers who are required to conduct background checks. 

The GOP-controlled Senate has not taken up either bill.