U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on Thursday introduced legislation to require gun owners to be licensed among other steps designed to address gun violence and mass shootings.
Menendez, D-N.J., joined U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in proposing the legislation, along with Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.
Provisions to ban gun silencers and high-capacity magazines previously were proposed by Menendez, and other elements of the bill are similar to legislation approved by the House. It was the first gun control bill voted on by the chamber in a quarter century.
“Too many lives are tragically lost at the hand of a gun on our streets, to suicide, and in mass shootings," Menendez said. “The American people are demanding Congress act to end the bloodshed and senseless death. No one bill is going to solve the problem; it’s going to take a comprehensive, holistic approach.”
“With approximately 100 Americans killed every day from gun violence, it’s long past time for Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and confront this deadly crisis head-on,” Warren said.
Under the legislation, Americans would be required to obtain a federal or state license to buy or own a gun, federal background checks would be required for all gun purchases, military-style assault weapons would be banned, and minimum age to buy a weapon or ammunition would be set at 21.
Menendez’s latest call for stronger gun legislation comes a month after four people were gunned down in Jersey City, in which two people killed a police officer and then three people in a kosher supermarket.
Last February, he stood with survivors of the February 2018 massacre at a a Parkland, Florida, high school and called for banning gun magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
President Donald Trump, who endorsed expanded background checks after 17 students and staff members were gunned down in Parkland, has since challenged any proposed regulations as an affront to the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“Our Second Amendment is under siege," Trump proclaimed at his campaign rally in Wildwood.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights lobby, spent $54.4 million in 2016, more than any other outside group, to elect Trump and keep Republicans in control of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.
But during the 2018 midterms that saw Democrats regain control of the House, gun control advocates spent $17 million on the 2018 elections, compared with $14 million for gun rights groups, according to the center.