On Monday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a 2020 candidate for president, refused to say whether or not he would support a gun confiscation plan that involves jailing Americans who refuse to give up their guns by selling them to the government.
CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Booker whether he would support a program sponsored by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), another 2020 candidate. Swalwell has centered his campaign on the gun control issue, having even threatening nuclear war against reluctant gun owners.
Harlow asked Booker if he supports Swalwell’s buy-back program, which would impose harsh penalties, including jail time, on those who refuse to sell the government their guns. When asked directly if he supports such penalties, Booker refused to answer.
“When I was mayor of the city of Newark, again I have a record on dealing with gun violence. We did a lot of gun buy-backs and even other creative ideas,” he recalled, promising similar proposals if he becomes president. “The critical thing is I think most Americans agree that these weapons of war should not be on our streets.”
Unsatisfied, Harlow pressed him, “But would you prosecute people? Do you support the government buying them back and if not potentially people could go to jail if they don’t want to sell them back? Yes or no.”
Once again Booker refused to answer the question.
“Again, we should have a law that bans these weapons and we should have a reasonable period in which these people can turn in these weapons,” the presidential candidate said. “Right now we have a nation that allows in streets and communities weapons that should not exist.”
Cory Booker won't say whether he'll jail Americans who refuse to surrender firearms they lawfully purchased if he's president: pic.twitter.com/DTGDDLp2ud
— Mikhael Smits (@mikhaelsmits) May 6, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another 2020 candidate, recently outlined gun control executive actions she would take in the first 100 days of her presidency.
Booker’s plan, released Monday, involves gun licensing, stricter regulations for gun manufacturers, handgun “microstamping,” ending the non-existent “gun show loophole,” banning the non-existent gun category of “assault weapons,” spending money on research, and more. His plan even targets a political organization he opposes, the National Rifle Association, by demanding an investigation into its tax-exempt status.
In a recent video, NRATV’s Colion Noir attacked Booker for pretending to be a “modern-day Spartacus” while he’s really a “Constitutional oligarch” who supports guns to defend politicians like him but not to defend average citizens.
"Look… I get that Cory Booker thinks he's some modern-day Spartacus. But on the issue of the #2A, he's more like a Constitutional oligarch. Where it's guns ok for us, but not for y'all." –@MrColionNoir #NRA pic.twitter.com/w13vSiQtYD
— NRATV (@NRATV) May 5, 2019
Booker has no qualms about calling for a targeted IRS investigation against a political opponent (sound familiar, Tea Party groups?) but he won’t say whether Americans could go to jail if they don’t sell their guns to the government. It is shameful that so cowardly a candidate tries to identify himself with a hero like Spartacus.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.