Aug. 6 (UPI) — After a weekend that saw more than 80 people either killed or wounded in two mass shootings, Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker said Americans cannot wait on a president to find a solution to the nation’s gun problem.
During a campaign event Monday, the Democratic senator from New Jersey told some 350 South Carolinians during a town hall in Charleston that if they want a solution to gun violence, they will have to demand it from their government.
“What is going to solve this crisis … is not waiting on a president,” he said. “It is for us, as a people, not to accept this and demand from our politicians to do something different.”
He said that the United States was “bleeding” following the two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio on the weekend and that now was the time for the nation to come together.
He also criticized Trump for having called for the end of the glorification of violence, specifically in video games, and better screenings for mental health problems during his remarks on the shooting earlier in the day.
“Other nations have video games,” Booker said. “Other nations have mental health [problems]. What makes us different is we are the one country … where we have such ease of access to guns.”
Having grown up hunting, Booker said he didn’t want to repeal the Second Amendment or disarm the nation, but if one needs to hold a license to drive a car, then they should also need one to own a gun.
“The reforms we want will not impact law-abiding gun owners,” he said.
Booker was met with questions from the audience concerning health care, specifically the high cost of prescriptions, which he said was “one of the sickest things going on in this country.”
He said U.S. pharmaceutical companies charge Americans from 50 to 100 times more for drugs than citizens of other countries, despite their research having been U.S. taxpayer-funded.
If elected president, pharmaceutical companies that charge Americans more than citizens of other countries for the same drugs would be punished by having their patents stripped, he said.
“I want to end corporations profiting from people’s pain,” he said. “It’s not right that people are forced to choose between something like insulin or rent.”
Concerning immigration, Booker said the current crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border was the president’s creation, stating the manner in which it’s being handled is neither cost-effective nor safe.
“There are ways we can be sure we are not letting in people who are a threat to America,” he said. “As it is, people are afraid to report crimes to police out of fear that family members may face deportation. This is actually making the situation in America more dangerous.”
Booker — who is currently polling at under 2 percent in the Democratic race for the party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election — told the audience that the Democrats will reclaim the presidency, the House and the Senate, but to do so, they will have to stand united not only behind a candidate but in ideology.
“I hear people saying they just want a candidate that can beat President Trump,” he said. “Beating President Trump is just the floor, we as Democrats need to have much higher aspirations that reach the ceiling.”