The PJ Tatler

Congressman Proposes Gun Licenses, Like Driver's Licenses

The former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said one “common sense” gun regulation that should be enacted is the need for a gun license for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm.

“We know that if you have a universal criminal background check to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people, you will reduce gun deaths. We know that,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is running for the Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), told MSNBC.

“We know that the state of Connecticut passed a law that also says you that should have a permit to purchase a weapon just like you need to get a license to drive a car. You should get a license before you can go purchase a weapon,” he added.

Van Hollen cited a Johns Hopkins study “showing that in the state of Connecticut the number of deaths from gun violence went down by 40 percent” after that law was passed. “Maryland just adopted a similar law two years ago and the results will be coming. I just spent yesterday in Maryland with our Maryland attorney general, Brian Frosh, calling upon other states to adopt these laws,” he said.

“And I’ve introduced legislation to incentivize other states to do it because those states that are passing these common sense gun laws are seeing reductions in deaths but they’re also vulnerable to the negligence of other states who are not taking these common sense measures.”

Van Hollen argued that because of this spillover, federal legislation is needed and not just state laws.

“So we need to act on a state level but we also need to act on a congressional level, and it’s just scandalous and shameful that in the House of Representatives, we’ve never even had a vote on common sense gun legislation, never a vote on universal criminal background check legislation, never a vote on the legislation that I and so many others have introduced,” he said.

“Give us a vote. And you know, Mr. Speaker, one thing he might be able to do before he leaves at the end of October is let democracy work. Let the American people watch Congress, vote to decide whether or not they want to take these common sense measures that help save lives, just as the president said,” Van Hollen continued. “…If this were a disease, if this were a virus that was killing tens of thousands of Americans, we would have the scientists at the national institutes of health, we would have the folks across the country at the CDC, we would have all hands on deck. And yet we have this epidemic that’s killing Americans and nothing’s being done.”