By Larry Keane
It’s tough to stay relevant in a twenty-way race for the Democratic presidential nomination that’s marked by provocative and far-left ideas, especially when enacting constitutionally suspect gun control.
But don’t ever say U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) doesn’t give it his best effort. His latest gun control proposal ignores basic constitutional protections of Creator-endowed rights and the racist history of the left’s favorite gun control ideas.
Recently, Sen. Booker tweeted “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun. Some states are doing this already — and it saves lives.”
This proposal has been echoed repeatedly by many presidential candidates so far in this cycle. That’s right. They want you to be licensed by the government to exercise a right for which the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the federal government infringement. The first flaw in the senator’s thinking is that such an infringement on the Second Amendment is saving lives. The city of Chicago, for example, requires gun owners to license themselves via the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. If what Sen. Booker had said were actually true, then Chicago would not “consistently (have) more total killings than any other U.S. city” with 27 people killed in the first two weeks of August.
Booker’s statement is not only wrong, but it is also incredibly hypocritical. Earlier this month, the New Jersey senator took to Twitter again to suggest repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects the firearms industry from frivolous lawsuits that attempt to hold manufacturers liable for the criminal misuse of a lawfully sold, non-defective firearm. Such attempts to assert liability without any basis in law are preposterous and applied to no other industry. Courts, and everyday Americans, recognize the absurdity of allowing someone who is the victim of a drunk driving accident to sue the manufacturer of the car a drunk driver was operating at the time of the crash. In other words, Sen. Booker wants to treat law-abiding gun owners like licensed drivers but at the same time hold the firearms manufacturers of America to a level of legal liability not ever considered for any other industry.
Sen. Booker clearly does not understand the difference between a constitutionally protected right and state requirements for using public roads. Bearing arms is an inalienable right in this country and a law that would require the government to license who can arm themselves and with what is a direct attack on our rights.
Gun Control’s Racist Roots
It doesn’t end there. Sen. Booker should know the racist history of the gun licensing scheme that arose in the Jim Crow-era South to ensure African-Americans wouldn’t be able to exercise and enjoy their God-given rights. In fact, Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist who challenged slavery and racism, railed against state and local infringement of gun rights for African Americans just one month after the Confederacy’s surrender. State Supreme Courts recognized many of the gun control laws that emerged and grew beyond the South were drafted with the “purpose of disarming” African Americans.
Today, co-founder of Black Guns Matter, Maj Toure, takes his message to inner cities that suffer high crime and explains the racist roots of gun control actually predate America. They were present in French colonial Louisiana. Toure said the “the first gun control rules pop off in Virginia” after Emancipation.
Condoleeza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, recently defended gun rights on The View, reminding viewers that neither Alabama’s Gov. “Bull” Connor nor Birmingham police would protect African Americans. She explained her father and his friends would fire guns in the air when Ku Klux Klan and “night riders” would threaten their neighborhood.
“I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were, he would have rounded them up,” she said. “So I don’t favor some things like gun registration.”
Fortunately, America’s millions of law-abiding gun owners will prove at the ballot box that we cannot be swayed by illogical talking points, no matter how frequently they are parroted by out of touch politicians who ignore our constitution and our history.
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.