By Jon Dougherty
When you’re a marginal presidential contender to begin with and you decide to throw your hat into an increasingly crowded ring, then what can you possibly do to stand out and get the attention you need to secure your party’s nomination?
Pick the most polarizing issue to your supporters and lie about it like it’s your job.
That’s what 2020 Democratic presidential also-running Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker of New Jersey just did about gun regulations.
In a Medium post, in a tweet, and in a CNN interview (that latter of which he — unsurprisingly — made his claim unchallenged) Booker actually claimed that toy guns are more heavily regulated than real guns.
“Most people don’t know that consumer product safety literally — one industry that’s been exempted is the gun lobby. So we have different regulations for toy guns and no regulations for the weapons on our streets that are killing so many people,” he said during a CNN interview.
Booker’s campaign repeated the talking point on Medium.
“Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children’s toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt. In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms,” the campaign wrote.
Why should toy guns be subject to more federal regulation than real ones? It’s time to change that. pic.twitter.com/pCmlGGL22Q
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 7, 2019
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) spokesman Mark Oliva set the record straight — and Booker — in an interview with The Washington Post.
“Our industry is the most heavily regulated industry in the country. No other industry is regulated at the federal, state and local level to the extent our industry is regulated, which include design and performance standards,” Oliva noted.
“The federal agencies that regulate the industry include ATF, FBI, State Department, Commerce Department, IRS, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he continued. No other consumer product requires the licensed dealer to conduct a criminal background check on a prospective purchaser before they can sell the product.
“Firearm manufacturers can be sued for product defect claims, although such claims are exceedingly rare given that there are over 400 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States,” he added.
As TownHall‘s Beth Baumann added:
How many times have you gone to the store and put a water gun in your cart? When you got the register were you asked to:
• Fill out a government form with sensitive information, including a full legal name, address and social security number?
• Answer questions about whether or not you smoke marijuana or are a convicted felony?
• Provide a valid form of ID?
• Go through a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System?
• Pay an additional fee for said background check?
• Prove you’re not a criminal?
• Wait 10 days to take the toy gun home (assuming you live in certain states)?
And don’t you dare lie about any statements regarding your gun purchase; that would be a felony that every American except Hillary Clinton could be jailed for.
As for Booker, his anti-gun authoritarianism is wide and deep. In a previous Medium post, his campaign outlined a plan to require that every gun and every gun owner be licensed by the government before being able to exercise their Second Amendment right.
“We won’t wait for more thoughts and prayers for communities that have been shattered by gun violence — from Pittsburgh to Parkland to Charleston to communities where kids fear the fireworks of Fourth of July because to them they sound like gunshots,” the post noted, highlighting his 14-point plan.
“We will pass universal background checks. We will ban assault weapons and close the loopholes that allow people who should never have a gun to get one. We will bring a fight to the NRA like they have never ever seen before. And we will win.”
Right out of the gate, Booker’s plan reeked of one unconstitutional policy proposal after another, ostensibly to combat America’s “gun violence epidemic.”
In particular, A President Booker believes he’d get a universal gun registration law passed.
“Individuals could seek a gun license at a designated local office, widely available in urban and rural areas, similar to applying for or renewing a passport. They would submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course,” the campaign said.
“The FBI would then verify submission of required materials and run a comprehensive background check before issuing a federal gun license, after which the license-holder could freely purchase and own firearms,” the post said. The license could be renewed after five years and would subsume existing state licensing systems into one federal one.
There is nothing in the Second Amendment that empowers ‘governments’ to require Americans to obtain a license before enjoying their right to keep and bear arms. What other constitutional rights would he require Americans to be licensed for?
But hey, Cory, you be you.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10