Democrat Presidential Hopeful Cory Booker Unveils Gun Control Wishlist

May 6, 2019


Matthew Hoy

Former Newark, N.J. mayor and current Sen. Cory Booker unveiled his gun control wishlist today that would do little to actually stem gun violence and instead is aimed at large scale gun confiscation and bankrupting gun manufacturers.

Like his gun-grabbing colleague, Sen. Kamala Harris (D.-Calif.), Booker's extensive rewrite of the nation's gun laws and gutting of the 2nd Amendment would do next to nothing to further reduce gun violence in the United States.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #1: Gun Licensing

Just as a driver’s license demonstrates a person’s eligibility and proficiency to drive a car, a gun license demonstrates that a person is eligible and can meet certain basic safety and training standards necessary to own a gun.

So, National Concealed Carry Reciprocity, right?

No, gun grabbers are only interested in using the driver's license analogy to the extent it benefits them.

Here’s how it would work: Individuals could seek a gun license at a designated local office, widely available in urban and rural areas, similar to applying for or renewing a passport. They would submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course.

The FBI would then verify submission of required materials and run a comprehensive background check before issuing a federal gun license, after which the license-holder could freely purchase and own firearms. The license would be valid for up to five years before renewal with regular, automatic checks to flag non-compliance with license terms.

This, of course, ignores the fact that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), is already supposed to take care of much of this for far less money. And can you imagine requiring a similar license to speak in public or practice your religion or any other right recognized by the Bill of Rights?

And, once licensed, would the license-holder really be able to "freely purchase and own firearms?" No, not really. Later in Booker's plan he offers this restriction: "Limit gun buyers to one handgun per month." So, not so freely.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #2: Bankrupt Gun Manufacturers

Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children’s toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt.

In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.

While not steadfastly opposed to necessarily allowing the CPSC to issue gun recalls, one can understand why gun-rights advocates are wary of giving such power to government bureaucracies that have shown undue hostility to 2nd Amendment rights. As to the idea that gun manufacturers don't want their guns to be safe, well there's plenty of evidence to suggest that is false.

While civil liability can be applied to sellers and manufacturers of nearly every product, as a result of a 2005 law the gun industry is immune from nearly all lawsuits. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) allows the gun industry to ignore public safety implications of the misuse of their products, such as gun trafficking.

Cory will fight to end gun industry immunity by repealing PLCAA and allow victims of gun violence to have their day in court when a gun dealer or manufacturer has acted negligently.

Again, this is nothing more than an effort to bankrupt gun manufacturers for selling a product that is later used by criminals to commit a crime. You don't see lawyers looking to file lawsuits against car manufacturers when their vehicles are used to run to pedestrians. There is no other product manufacturer that faces repeated lawsuits when their legal product is used in an illegal manner; not cars, not knives, not baseball bats, only guns.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #3: Non-existent technology

There is not a single firearm for sale anywhere in the world that incorporates microstamping technology. For one very good reason: it does not exist.

Microstamping is technology that allows law enforcement to identify the source of ammunition used in crimes by making a shell casing traceable to the specific gun that fired the round. Unfortunately, in many cases, there is little evidence left behind at crime scenes, resulting in a homicide “clearance rate” of just 62 percent. Microstamping technology would allow law enforcement to trace crime guns as soon as a shell casing is found, helping to prevent future crimes from occurring.

Cory will fight to require that microstamping technology be incorporated into new models of semi-automatic handguns sold in the United States.

Again, the technology does not exist, and besides there's ample evidence that it does no good. Microstamping, in theory, is little different from Maryland's gun "fingerprint" database that catalogued the supposedly unique marking left on a cartridge by the firing pin, slide and extractor, when it is fired through a particular gun. Maryland dumped the program when the database failed to solve a single crime and cost $5 million over 15 years.

Microstamping can also be easily defeated by simple filing the firing pin or confuse law enforcement by sprinkling cartridge casings picked up at a public range at the crime scene.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #4: Closing loopholes

Ensure a background check on every gun sale by closing the loophole on guns show and online sales and the so-called “Charleston Loophole”:

Background checks are foundational to any gun safety policy, but loopholes in current law allow individuals to purchase guns in private sales from strangers without a background check. Current law requires that federally licensed firearms dealers conduct background checks on individuals seeking to purchase a firearm in commercial transactions, but prohibited purchasers — such as criminals and domestic abusers — can exploit this loophole simply by finding an unlicensed seller.

More than 90 percent of American voters — and nearly 70 percent of NRA members — support universal background checks.

States such as California have long had universal background checks. They have not had the effect of halting gun violence or preventing prohibited purchasers from getting firearms. The Charleston Loophole does not exist. Claims that a certain percent of NRA members support background checks are based upon polls where respondents self-identify as NRA members. The NRA has never provided its membership list to any pollster for an accurate, verified, poll of its membership.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #5: Scary black rifles, standard-capacity magazines

Ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks:

Large capacity ammunition magazines and assault weapons have been present in many mass shootings in the US, made for no other purpose than to kill people quickly and efficiently.

Bump stocks are already illegal. So-called "assault weapons" and standard capacity magazines are used often for self-defense and target competition.

And let's make no mistake that when it comes to this "ban," Booker is talking about an Australian- or New Zealand-style mandatory "buy-back" and confiscation that would result in prison time for those who do not comply, even if he's too gutless to come out and say it.

Gun Control Wishlist Item #6: More funding aimed at demonizing guns, gun-owners

The remainder of Booker's wishlist are additional funding items for gun-violence research and community efforts to deal with the aftermath of the gun violence his proposed new laws would do nothing to prevent.

Analyzing the Politics

There is little doubt that such robust new gun control laws are popular among the Democratic base and may help Booker in the primary election. However, such a hard-line against 2nd Amendment rights could come back to hurt the Democratic candidate in those purple swing states. And even should the Democrats prevail and win the White House back in 2020, they've still got an uphill battle in the Senate where Republicans are likely to retain control and be in a position to thwart sweeping gun laws.

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