Eric Swalwell, 2020 candidate, calls for mandatory ‘assault weapons’ buyback
Rep. Eric Swalwell, who became the latest Democrat to join the crowded 2020 presidential race on Monday, said he intends to make gun violence his top campaign issue, proposing a mandatory federal ban and buyback on all semiautomatic rifles.
Mr. Swalwell, a Democrat from northern California and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday promising to end the “failure of leadership” in trying to end gun violence.
“I will work to enact universal background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases, take guns away from domestic abusers, invest in gang-prevention programs, push states to adopt gun violence restraining order laws, and remove weapons of war from our communities completely,” Mr. Swalwell wrote.
He went on to propose a mandatory federal buyback of all “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.”
“It’s bold and will cost money, but it is constitutional and it rightly treats gun violence as a life-or-death matter,” he wrote. “Our children deserve better than an attempt to reduce or contain gun violence. Our goal must be to end it.”
Mr. Swalwell also spoke about the issue to Esquire magazine, saying he wants the federal government to obtain all 15 million semiautomatic rifles that are estimated in U.S. circulation.
“Last year I wrote a bill calling for a buyback and ban on assault weapons not just to ban future manufacturing, but to just take the 15 million that are out there and buy them back,” he said. “And do what Australia did, do what New Zealand did. They’ve shown us Australia in the ’90s, New Zealand just this week that courage in doing the right thing can protect people.”
Mr. Swalwell drew considerable backlash for his buyback proposal last year after he warned gun owners that any fight over firearms would be “a short one” because the federal government has “nukes.”
After conservative commentator Joe Biggs wrote on Twitter that Mr. Swalwell “wants a war” over guns, the congressman responded at the time: “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”