WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a series of fatal mass shootings across the country, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Federal Firearm Licensing Act. The ambitious legislation would require individuals to obtain a firearm license from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before purchasing or receiving a firearm. Also today, the House Committee on the Judiciary is set to consider its version of Booker’s Keep Americans Safe Act of 2019, introduced in February, which would ban high-capacity magazines.
“We’re in the midst of a national gun violence crisis that is ravaging our country,” Booker said. “The consequences of continued congressional inaction are deadly. There have been more mass shootings this year than number of days — we cannot continue to accept this shameful status quo. While the world moves on to the next news cycle, the victims and their loved ones in places like El Paso and San Bernardino and Parkland and Las Vegas are stuck living with their pain and suffering every single day. We owe it to them, and all victims of gun violence, to do our jobs and pass meaningful gun safety measures that will make our communities safer.”
“This bill is based on a very simple concept — if you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun,” Booker added.
Several studies have seen licensing laws reduce gun violence in states that have enacted them. There are 14 states, including New Jersey, that currently require a license or permit for firearms. New Jersey, which ranks near the bottom in the number of gun deaths per capita each year, as a result of the state’s common-sense gun safety laws, implemented the measure in 2018. After Connecticut passed a law requiring the licensing of firearms, the state saw its gun homicide rate decrease by 40 percent and its gun suicide rate decreased by 15 percent. When Missouri repealed its firearm licensing law it saw a 25 percent increase in gun homicides and a 16 percent increase in suicides by gun.
In order to obtain a federal firearm license, the Federal Firearm Licensing Act would require the following:
The federal firearm license required by this bill must be renewed every five years, at which point the applicant would have to go through a background check and undergo firearm safety training again. The bill contains a mechanism for the Department of Justice to revoke a license if the individual poses a danger to himself/herself or others. It would also require the DOJ to regularly conduct checks to ensure that individuals are in compliance with the federal license requirements.
Background on Booker's work fighting to end the gun violence epidemic:
Since his time as a tenant lawyer, City Council member, and mayor of Newark, Booker has seen the impact of gun violence first-hand. He is the only Senator who goes home to a low-income inner-city community that is disproportionately affected by violent crime caused by the easy availability of guns. As a result, Booker has been a forceful advocate for common-sense gun safety laws during his time in the Senate. He is a cosponsor of a number of measures to help reduce gun violence by, among other things, increasing funding of gun violence prevention research, strengthening the current background check system, and ensure that weapons meant for the battlefield are kept off of America's streets. Booker also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back in session to vote on gun control legislation in response to the series of fatal mass shootings. Below is a full list of the gun safety bills Booker has introduced this session of Congress: the Background Check Expansion Act, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act, the Keep Americans Safe Act, the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, the Disarm Hate Act, Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act of 2019, and the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act of 2019.