Elizabeth Warren Releases Plan Focused on Reducing Gun Deaths

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Saturday laid out a series of proposals to address gun violence, with an ambitious goal for her presidency: reducing gun deaths by 80 percent.

Ms. Warren offered her plan before she appeared at a forum on gun safety in Des Moines that was expected to include appearances by more than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates. The 2020 candidates are generally united on imposing more restrictions on guns, and the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend have thrust the issue to the forefront in the primary race.

There were nearly 40,000 gun deaths in the United States in 2017, 60 percent of which were suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“My goal as president, and our goal as a society, will be to reduce that number by 80 percent,” Ms. Warren said. “We might not know how to get all the way there yet. But we’ll start by implementing solutions that we believe will work. We’ll continue by constantly revisiting and updating those solutions based on new public health research.”

Under her plan, Ms. Warren would make major changes to how Americans buy guns. Her plan includes creating a federal licensing system, akin to getting a driver’s license, for people buying guns or ammunition.

She is also calling for new restrictions on gun purchases: The minimum age would be 21, people would be limited to one firearm purchase per month and there would be a one-week waiting period for all purchases.

[Biden’s biggest weakness? Iowa. But some rivals don’t seem to know it.]

Ms. Warren’s plan also calls for increasing taxes on gun manufacturers, as well as spending $100 million annually on research into gun violence.

Ms. Warren’s presidential bid has been powered in large part by her steady stream of policy proposals, and gun safety was among the highest-profile issues that she had not yet addressed in detail. Before rolling out her new plan, she called on Friday for Walmart to stop selling guns.

Ms. Warren’s plan endorses several proposals that are broadly popular among the Democratic candidates, like requiring universal background checks; banning assault weapons; enacting a so-called red flag law that allows guns to be removed from people deemed dangerous; and repealing a law that shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits.

The possibility of passing a red flag law has received considerable attention after last weekend’s shootings, and President Trump on Friday said there was “tremendous support” for what he described as “really common-sense, sensible, important background checks.” But his track record on guns leaves major question marks about his commitment to that position.

Ms. Warren laid out actions she would take on guns using executive power, such as expanding background checks to cover more gun purchases. But much of her agenda on the issue would require passing legislation in Congress.

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To do that, Ms. Warren reiterated her call to get rid of the Senate filibuster — a step that would clear the way for a narrow Democratic majority to pass new gun laws without needing to reach 60 votes.

“Enough is enough,” Ms. Warren said. “Lasting gun reform requires the elimination of the filibuster.”


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