Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker struggled for specifics during a Sunday morning “State of the Union” appearance when CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed him on how his gun reform plan would have stopped the Friday’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
“How would your plan have stopped this tragedy, if at all?” Tapper asked after noting that the Virginia Beach shooter’s handguns were purchased legally.
Instead of answering the CNN anchor’s question directly, Booker pointed to the mass shootings that happen “in the aggregate” before calling the level of shootings a “uniquely American problem.”
“I have a comprehensive plan that people say is bold,” Booker added. “But I’ll tell you what, it’s not bold. It’s common sense, evidence-based things we can do to lower gun violence. We are not helpless … ”
“But you — you keep saying,” Tapper interrupted. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but you keep saying, ‘we’re not helpless.’ So I’m saying, what would have prevented this tragedy? I think that’s one of the issues that people wonder about when there are these horrible tragedies. What steps specifically would have stopped the massacre in Virginia Beach?” (RELATED: Democrats Politicize Virginia Beach Shooting To Push Gun Control, Second Amendment Supporters Push Back)
Booker again dodged Tapper’s second attempt to frame the question specifically around Virginia Beach:
You’ve taken a look at 16, 17 things we have in my plan that would drop the levels of violence overall, from one handgun a month laws, all the way to investing in the kind of mental health and the kind of community empowerment strategies that would do something about it. In the aggregate, we can do things that dramatically lower the levels of violence in our community. We’ve allowed this debate to be framed by the corporate gun lobby that has so eroded common sense, that even stopping the CDC having money to study this problem, from stopping consumer product safety commissions having the ability to regulate in this space. So, enough is enough. We can do so much more.
Tapper then transitioned to a different line of questioning. “I hear you not talking about this specific massacre, but talking about gun violence in general,” he said. “So let’s talk about your proposals in general.”