By: Cody McLaughlin
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is pursuing a longshot bid for the presidency in 2020, has gone full-bore in recent weeks against the Second Amendment, vowing for a crowd in April that he would “bring a fight to the NRA like they have never, ever seen before -- and we will win.”
Booker also recently doubled-down on his vow with an assertion that he would gladly ban guns, if only he had the power to do so, asserting, “In my urban environment, I see little to no need for guns at all.”
Set aside for a moment the fact that there are plenty of examples of “good guys with guns” rescuing bystanders from criminals with illegal weapons, or the fact that the Second Amendment is a cornerstone of our Constitution, and therefore the only “need” an American has to own a gun.
There is a lot to unpack here.
Booker’s Terrible Record on Guns
Booker’s record on guns is bad, and people have suffered because of it. When he was Mayor of Newark (his job just before becoming Senator), gun and violent crime increased significantly, and Newark already has a crime index higher than 91.1% of other U.S. Cities.
What’s more, several of the policies Booker is touting as solutions to the gun violence problem have straight-up failed both in Newark specifically and in New Jersey as a whole, especially his “One Handgun Per Month” proposal. In fact, statewide, the ten-year average of murders prior to the enactment of the law was 219 murders per year with handguns. The seven-year average since enactment of the law is 263.3 handgun murders, proving that murders with handguns have continued to increase even after passage of the law.
What About Your Environmental Agenda?
Booker’s other favorite cause du jour is the environment. He claimed just weeks ago that “environmental justice” would be central to his campaign.
This move makes it all the more puzzling that Booker would take aim at banning guns as his grand policy initiative, or at least it would be if he understood the issues at all. Instead, he seems simply to read the top lines of polling that shows broad support in his base for such a ban.
As a matter of fact, I think Booker would find it fascinating if he ever dug deep into the issue of guns without any preconceived notions about them being good or bad. For instance, there is an oft-overlooked fact about guns that most leftists who wrap themselves in the shroud of environmentalism often overlook – guns pay for almost all of the environmental initiatives, from endangered species rescue to open space preservation, in the entire United States of America.
Due to something that is called the Pittman-Robertson Act, signed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1937, each state is granted funds from a federal excise tax on guns and ammunition (in addition to fishing tackle) to help manage and fund wildlife and environmental preservation and restoration at the state level. The tax is 11% on guns and ammunition, in addition to a 10% tax on handguns and their ammunition, which was added in the 1970s.
How much does it amount to? According to a Sierra Club blog article dated April 12, 2018 (just one year ago), “Four days before the March for Our Lives, the federal government distributed $1.1 billion in tax dollars extracted from gun sales to state agencies. The money was earmarked for a specific purpose: wildlife conservation.” In fact, more than $12 billion has been collected since the enactment of Pittman-Robertson Act, all for wildlife conservation.
What have been the results? You name it – from your friendly neighborhood (or nuisance) white-tailed deer to black bears, elk, mountain lions, several species of waterfowl, wild turkeys and beyond – the Pittman-Robertson act is the cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and it has been a resounding success for our domestic species and the causes of open space preservation and conservation.
Cory Booker’s laser-focus on taking the fight to law-abiding gun owners in the U.S. would sacrifice all of that.
Cody McLaughlin is a vocal activist, noted conservationist, and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He is a contributor for the NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum and a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, representing the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena. You can find him on twitter at @mclaugh19.