Presidential hopeful and New Jersey U.S. Senator Cory Booker has made headlines recently for his list of wildly unconstitutional gun control proposals. At the top of his list is requiring a government license to buy and own a firearm.
To make his case, Sen. Booker argues that if one needs a license to drive a car, the same should be required to own a gun. What he misses is that unlike the privilege of driving a car on public roads, owning a firearm is a Constitutional right.
A better analogy is requiring a license to exercise the right to freedom of speech or to practice one’s religion. Of course, then even he would have to admit that would constitute a dangerous threat to our rights as Americans.
Barriers to Rights
He is arguing that it is OK to set up barriers to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional right. As if requiring fees and photos and fingerprints, necessarily preventing some from exercising their right to protect themselves and their families is somehow acceptable, particularly those with less income and free time to spend in government lines. It wasn’t OK to require a poll tax for voting, why should it be OK to restrict the rights of citizens now?
So maybe he’s just confused, and he hasn’t really thought this through. After all, why would he also be arguing for a return of the so-called “assault weapon ban” that did nothing to prevent criminals from committing crimes, or for micro-stamping technology that doesn’t actually exist?
Perhaps if he actually wants to help ensure that those who shouldn’t have guns don’t get them, he should call for making sure all states and federal agencies submit their disqualifying records to the FBI’s background check database? Or help educate law-abiding citizens about options to safely store their firearms?
If he wants to know what policies actually work, we can help. The firearms and ammunition industry has real solutions for safer communities. And none of them require limiting any of the fundamental Constitutional rights we enjoy as U.S. citizens.
Whether he is aware or not of how dangerous it is to toy with American freedoms, we hope he does his homework and supports actual solutions to the real problems in our country.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.