Booker: ‘Demagogues’ Are ‘Fear-Mongering’ about Police Confiscating Assault Weapons

Mairead McArdle

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker on Friday criticized what he called “fear-mongering” about police showing up to confiscate legally owned assault-style weapons such as the AR-15 rifle.

“I hate when Democrats use the language that Republicans try to use to scare people away as opposed to the sort of pragmatism and practicality of this,” the New Jersey senator said during an interview with CNN. “We’ve seen around this world, countries that have said enough of these assault rifles. They dealt with the problem that got them off of their streets. These weapons should not be in this country.”

Booker said he supports the policy proposed by fellow presidential contender Beto O’Rouke, who made headlines during Thursday evening’s Democratic debate for pledging, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

The former El Paso congressman supports a so-called “mandatory-buyback program” for AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, a move that goes further than the voluntary-buyback program other Democratic 2020 contenders, including former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, have endorsed.

“You have to set up a system. Yeah, that is mandatory,” Booker said, explaining that he would ban assault-style weapons using the 1986 National Firearms Act as a model. “You have to set up a system to pull them off. But this idea, this imagery that the fear-mongers and demagogues try to say of somehow armed police officers showing up and confiscating weapons, that’s the fear-mongering.”

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