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A Rally To Kick Off The Cory Booker Campaign For President in Newark North Jersey Record

New Jersey Sen. and Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker has laid out his plan to reduce gun suicides, which includes a federal gun licensing program, his latest proposal to combat firearms violence.

Booker’s plan encourages relatives of at-risk residents to take away their guns, and it calls for public support for counseling, requires safe gun storage and seeks to implement a federal licensing program for firearms. Booker says there should be a White House official specifically entrusted with ending gun violence, according to a statement from his presidential campaign.

The multi-tiered plan is Booker’s most recent proposal to combat gun violence, an issue he has made a linchpin of his senatorial and presidential platforms.

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“The injustice of gun violence comes in many forms,” Booker said in a statement. “Gun suicides are an aspect of the gun violence epidemic that rarely get the attention they deserve. We should be doing so much more as a country to stop these preventable deaths, and it’s shameful that the gun lobby is standing in the way.”

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The five-part plan would implement a federal licensing program that would require a background check, firearm safety training and an in-person appointment in order to own a gun, the statement said. In the statement, Booker cites statistics from states like Connecticut and Missouri that saw drops in gun suicide rates after passing similar gun laws.

“If you need a license to drive a car, you should need one to own a gun,” Booker said.

The plan would also put in place an “extreme risk” law, which would help police and relatives to remove guns from people at risk of hurting themselves or others. Booker would seek to provide grants to states that pass such laws.

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The measures, sometimes known as “red flag” laws, allow police to temporarily take guns from people deemed by a judge to pose a threat. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a version into law last summer.

“I think it’s wonderful that he’s [Booker] laying out specifics about what his ideas are to reduce gun violence,” said Brett Sabo, the state chapter leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Across state lines it makes it so hard to keep people safe when the laws are so drastically different from state to state.”

Safe gun storage would also be a requirement across the country, and Booker would support expanding education and training for health professionals on suicide prevention, the statement said. 

The plan is another in a line of proposals Booker has pushed aiming to reduce the thousands of people who die by firearm suicide. In 2016, the last year with available data, 22,938 Americans died by gun suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In 2017, Booker and Sen. Bob Menendez, along with other senators, introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, which would have blocked the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of assault-style weapons. It also would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Email: torrejon@northjersey.com

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