Warren Proposes Renewing Assault Weapon Ban, Hiking Gun Taxes
(Bloomberg) -- Less than a week after two deadly mass shootings renewed the gun control debate in the U.S., Elizabeth Warren set out an agenda for executive action and legislation to tighten firearms regulation and reinstitute a federal assault weapons ban.
The Democratic presidential candidate said that if she’s elected she would ask Congress, among other measures, to create a federal licensing system for gun ownership, expand background checks and raise the tax on firearms to 30% for firearms and 50% for ammunition.
“Our nation can no longer be held hostage by a small group of well-financed extremists who have already made it perfectly clear that they will never put the safety of the American people first,” Warren wrote in a Medium post Saturday. She vowed to “hold both gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for the violence promoted by their products.”
Warren joins several other Democratic candidates in promising bold executive action to limit gun ownership, even though the president has very limited power to control the sales and use of firearms. The most sweeping actions, such as increasing taxes on guns and ammunition or prohibiting assault rifles like those used in last weekend’s mass shooting, would require cooperation from Congress. That’s unlikely to happen while Republicans, who’ve opposed stricter gun control, have a majority in the Senate.
To end the stalemate in Congress, Warren said she’d break the National Rifle Association’s “stranglehold on Congress” through legislation that she said would sharply curtail the power of lobbyists. She also advocates the Senate end the filibuster, which allows a minority to block legislation.
Warren would limit the number of guns that can be purchased to one per month, and require bulk sales of weapons to be reported. She would enact a federal ban in the production, sale, and importation of military-style assault weapons, large-capacity magazines for all firearms, and accessories that make guns more deadly, like silencers and trigger cranks.
She proposed using more federal government resources to restrict gun trafficking across states and the southern border, and would pass a new federal gun licensing system and require permanent universal background checks.
Warren said her administration would spend $100 million annually for gun safety research and raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 18 to keep more guns out of the hands of teenagers. She said her goal would be to cut the number of firearms deaths in the U.S. -- almost 40,000 a year -- by 80%, matching the decline in the number of people killed in vehicle crashes over the past half century.
Warren rolled out her new plan ahead of a Gun Safety Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, organized by Everytown for Gun Safety. Several Democratic presidential candidates, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, are scheduled to attend.
Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, founded and helps fund Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for universal background checks and other gun violence prevention measures.
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