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Cory Booker, Leaning Toward NJ Senate Run, Calls for Gun Controls

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is reportedly leaning toward a run for the U.S. Senate, last night joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other big city mayors who are pleading for the nation’s leader to take action against guns.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Booker took a forceful stand in favor of action specifically to limit the sales of guns at so-called secondary markets like gun shows and —. Booker came prepared with stats to make his case.

Booker is a frequent guest on the national talk show circuit because of his powerful debating skills and his lucid articulation of the challenges facing the nation’s poor. Those appearances could be expected to increase substantially if Booker were to become a U.S. senator from New Jersey. As we have previously reported, Booker has been in the process of deciding whether he wants to take on Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the gubernatorial elections in 2014 or whether he wants to go after 88-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s seat in 2014—if Lautenberg, who would be 90, decides to retire.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, sources say Booker is leaning toward the Senate run, rather than taking on the Republican governor, who is riding high after his performance following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy but who may still be vulnerable as a Republican governor in a strongly Democratic state where Obama destroyed Romney last month by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent.

Though Booker has intimated that he thought Christie was vulnerable, he might have an easier time with a statewide run for senator against Republicans who won’t have his name recognition. While a statewide win for a black politician in New Jersey would have been considered unthinkable just a decade ago, considering the state’s relatively small black population of 14 percent, after two triumphant runs by President Obama, white New Jerseyans have grown so accustomed to pulling a lever for a black man that Booker’s task is now much easier. In addition, New Jersey’s Latino population is now 18 percent—and Booker is extremely popular in the Latino community (and even speaks serviceable Spanish).

On the Maddow show, Booker called on the federal and state governments to shut down the secondary gun markets—gun shows and internet sites—which he said are responsible for the bulk of illegal guns flowing into cities like Newark and Camden.

“If you are terrorist in America, you can go to the secondary gun market and buy a weapon,” Booker said. “About 40 percent of our guns are being sold in secondary markets. That’s how the guns are coming into cities like mine.”

Booker had polling numbers that he said came from a Republican pollster showing that 82 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of National Rifle Association members “believe that these secondary markets should be stopped form being able to sell people without criminal background checks.”

He said that Newark and similar cities that struggle with gun violence are spending a lot of money without much support from federal and state government.

“Almost my entire property tax base in my city—forget the rest of government—is being used for public safety purposes,” said the mayor, who along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “Without state and federal law changing, many mayors are fighting a very uphill battle.”


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