Cory Booker: 2020 presidential hopeful compares gun control fight to civil rights movement

Booker said that Virginia Beach shooting was 'a tragedy today but every day in the aggregate we have mass shootings that go on in neighbourhoods like mine'


Victoria Gagliardo-Silver
New York
Sunday 02 June 2019 23:11 BST

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Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker took a firm stance for gun control after the Virginia Beach shooting that killed 12.

Mr Booker, who has already presented a policy plan for gun reform, spoke to CNN’s State of the Union about everyday gun violence in inner city black and brown communities.

Mr Booker said that Virginia Beach was “a tragedy today but every day in the aggregate we have mass shootings that go on in neighbourhoods like mine … an inner-city black and brown community.”

“We are not helpless to stop this. This is a uniquely American problem. We have carnage in our country that no other nation sees,” he added.

Mr Booker has introduced a 14-point plan, which includes licensing reform, a ban on assault weapons, and high capacity magazines.

The New Jersey senator presents gun control as a public health issue, looking towards successful reforms at state and city levels.

“This idea that we are helpless to stop this, evidence points differently,” he said. “We know that … licensing like Connecticut did, dropped gun violence in their state by 40 per cent, suicides by 15 per cent.”

When asked how he, as a democratic candidate for president, would succeed in reforming gun laws when his predecessors could not, Mr Booker stressed the similarities between gun reform and the Civil Rights Movement.

“People said it couldn’t be done and there were states that were standing against it,” he said.

“But you know what happened is that we had leaders who called to the moral imagination of our country, who called to the conscience of our nation, who built the kind of coalitions necessary to tear down segregation.

“Here we have a nation that has untold levels of carnage, and violence and shootings every single day, of suicides, 90 to 100 people dying every single day. I believe that just because we’ve failed in the past doesn’t mean we will fail in the future.

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“I believe it takes grit and fight and will and we can muster that in the United States to do common sense things that do not take away people’s second amendment rights.”

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