In the crowded field of 21 Democrats running for president in 2020, Swalwell made gun control his niche issue to stand apart from his competitors. As IJR previously reported, Swalwell vowed to implement a mandatory gun buyback of “military-style weapons” — á la New Zealand — and vowed to arrest those Americans who didn’t participate.
Unfortunately for the congressman, a candidate higher up on the recent primary polls released his own gun-limiting plan, stealing Swalwell’s spotlight.
Booker’s team called this plan the “most sweeping gun violence prevention proposal ever advanced by a presidential candidate.”
Clearly, Swalwell took offense to Booker’s claim to the “most sweeping” proposal. He told the Washington Examiner that the senator’s plan didn’t make it clear how he would ban assault weapons, while Swalwell has a clear plan to force Americans into a buyback program:
“I support gun licensing. You need a license to drive a car; using a gun shouldn’t have a lower standard. I want to know if Sen. Booker’s assault weapons ban would include the 15 million on the streets now, or just future sales. My plan bans both.”
Booker also tiptoed around whether he would arrest gun owners who refused to turn over their weapons. He dodged a “yes or no” question from CNN on the matter Monday night.
Watch Booker dodge the question:
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
POPPY HARLOW: 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?
BOOKER: Again, we should have a law that bans these weapons, and we should have a reasonable period in which people can turn in these weapons. Right now, we have a nation that allows, in streets and communities like mine, these weapons that should not exist.
Swalwell took a harder line than Booker on the issue of arrests, instead blatantly telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that gun owners who refused to turn in their weapons would go to jail.
As IJR previously reported, several major Democrats have targeted the Second Amendment as part of their primary bid. With a field of 21 candidates that could still grow, it could help some candidates to set themselves apart as staunch supporters of gun control — as Booker and Swalwell are trying to do.
It remains to be seen if it would be a strong strategy to target the Second Amendment in a general election.