As the toll from the epidemic of gun violence and deadly mass shootings across the country, most recently in Lewiston, Maine, continues to grow, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism, reintroduced the Federal Firearm Licensing Act, legislation that would require individuals to obtain a federal firearm license before purchasing or receiving a firearm.
Studies have shown that licensing laws can significantly reduce gun violence in places that have enacted them. For example, according to the Giffords Law Center, Connecticut saw its gun homicide and gun suicide rates decrease by 28 and 33 percent, respectively, after passing a state licensing law. In contrast, after Missouri repealed its firearm licensing law, the state saw a 47 percent increase in its gun homicide rate and 24 percent increase in its gun suicide rate. Licensing laws also enjoy strong support from Americans, with 77% backing the idea according to a Quinnipiac survey from 2019.
“The epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings continues to claim the lives of thousands of innocent Americans every year,” said Senator Booker. “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to own and use a gun. Data shows that states that have implemented licensing laws have significantly reduced gun-related deaths. This legislation would mirror this common-sense idea at the federal level and enhance public safety by ensuring that individuals seeking to purchase firearms pass a standard background check and are properly trained before obtaining a required license. We are not powerless to stop the carnage in our communities. Meaningful reforms like this will prevent gun violence, save lives, and make our communities safer.”
— Press release from Rep. Cory Booker