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Cory Booker backs ‘mandatory buybacks’ for ‘assault weapons’ first proposed by Beto O’Rourke

Senator Cory Booker Meets with Judge Merrick Garland. (Senate Democrats/Flickr)
October 02, 2019

Democratic Presidential Candidate and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has added his support to proposals for “mandatory buyback” programs for “assault weapons” on Wednesday.

In comments at the Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas, organized by March for Our Lives and broadcast by NBC and MSNBC News, Booker voiced his support for a plan to mandate owners of certain firearms to sell those firearms.

Booker, who said his gun policy plan has been called the “most ambitious” among the Democratic presidential candidates is actually an “evidence-based” and feasible plan.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans, over 75 percent, does not believe that we should have these weapons of war on our street,” Booker said.

In an immediate follow-up question, Booker was then asked how those weapons would be taken off the street.

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“You have a mandatory buyback program,” he said. “The right, right away, the corporate gun lobby, the NRA fearmongers will say ‘that’s federal agents showing up at people’s houses.’ No, we have models of this happening in other places.”

Booker pointed to Australia as one example of what he considers a successful enactment of such a gun control policy.

“There are ways to do this that get near complete compliance. Do not let the fear mongers dictate our policy,” Booker said.

Booker did not appear to clarify in those statements, what types of firearms would be included in a “mandatory buyback” though he described a man who was killed in his New Jersey neighborhood by an “assault rifle” as an example of why a “mandatory buyback” is needed.

In prior comments, Booker said that many of the guns in his home state of New Jersey come through “iron pipeline” of nearby states with lax gun laws.

“Pretty much 99.9 percent of the people who are using guns in cities like mine could not buy a gun legally,” he said.

New Jersey has taken efforts to curb gun violence, including a “large-capacity” magazine ban limiting the number of rounds accepted in a firearm’s magazine to 10. Despite this ban, many residents have chosen not to turn over their banned magazines despite the possibility of a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.

Booker has not been the only Democratic presidential candidate to support a mandatory version of gun buybacks.

During a September Democratic presidential debate, fellow candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke said firearm buyback programs should be mandatory, and said “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK 47.”

Mandatory buyback proposals have also raised contentions from gun rights activists.

When asked about how a mandatory buyback would work during a Reddit campaign event, O’Rourke said he believes “Americans will comply.” The response drew much criticism from the Reddit crowd, and some user again pointed to New Jersey’s magazine capacity limits as an example of mass non-compliance with new gun laws.

During a recent town hall event for O’Rourke, a woman rebuked his earlier “hell yes” comments on taking certain firearms like AR-15s.

“I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not,” the woman said.

California Senator Kamala Harris, another Democratic presidential contender, has also come out in favor of “mandatory buybacks,” according to Bloomberg.

“We have to work out the details — there are a lot of details — but I do,” she said when asked if she supports a forced buyback policy.