Senator Cory Booker on Gun Violence: It's Time to Close Legal Loopholes

Over a year ago

Long before New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was listed as a potential running mate and Vice President for Hillary Clinton, he was an advocate of common sense gun reform: closing loopholes in existing background check legislation, and preventing individuals on the federal terrorism watch list from acquiring automatic weapons. Sadly, in the aftermath of a mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando named Pulse, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded, the American Senate has failed to take action.

Four independent pieces of legislation failed to garner enough votes to pass the Senate, which remains divided mainly along party lines on the issue of gun control. Two of the bills sought to shore up background checks while two wanted to block people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing weapons. Similar bills were introduced after the massacre at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children, aged six to seven years, were fatally shot.

After the Orlando shooting, a filibuster was held by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy to force a debate over gun control, and eventually on the four doomed bills. While social media users offered plenty of opinions over the event, even Kim Kardashian West took to Twitter to admonish the Senate for its inaction over violent gun crime.

According to Cory Booker, even a majority of gun owners believe in the kind of common sense gun reform he describes: "...when we poll gun owners the overall majority, 60 percent, 70 percent, sometimes 80 percent agree with common sense steps that we can take for gun safety." But inaction at the level of government has stifled any attempt at progress.

Whether that inaction is a result of an American culture tragically accustomed to gun violence, or a consequence of well-funded political lobbies — mainly the NRA, or National Rifle Association — exerting an outsized influence over politicians, gun violence will continue in the United States unless something is done.

Senator Booker's book is United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good.