Elizabeth Warren aims to boost firearm taxes, probe NRA under new gun control proposal

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren is seeking to increase taxes on firearms and ammo as part of a sweeping proposal intended to blunt the glut of mass shootings in the U.S.

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Unveiled on Saturday, the plan also calls for a federal investigation into the National Rifle Association, expanded background checks to include gun shows and online orders -- some of which are already subject to such reviews -- and raising the minimum purchasing age to 18 years old.

To achieve some of these results, including the implementation of a federal licensing system for firearms, Warren is seeking to end the legislative filibuster, which would remove a requirement that two-thirds of senators support a motion to bring bills up for a vote in the chamber.

“Faced with a complex and entrenched public health crisis, made worse by the ongoing inability of a corrupt government to do anything about it, it’s easy to despair. But we are not incapable of solving big problems,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in a blog post. “We’ll make structural changes to end the ability of corrupt extremists to block our government from defending the lives of our people — starting with ending the filibuster.”

Such a move is seen by some top Democratic 2020 candidates as necessary to pass more liberal-leaning proposals, including so-called "Medicare for All."

Alongside regulatory shifts, Warren is seeking to increase taxes on handguns to 30 percent and ammunition to 50 percent, up from the current 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

The goal is to “both to reduce new gun and ammunition sales overall and to bring in new federal revenue that we can use for gun violence prevention and enforcement of existing gun laws,” she wrote.

The proposal is in response to the growing occurrence of gun violence in the country and comes after two recent mass shootings, including one at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

Following those attacks, President Trump said there is “tremendous support” within Congress to expand background checks, a legislative proposal that has constantly failed to advance under Republican control.

Speaking to reporters last week, Trump said the NRA would “either be there or maybe will be a little more neutral” on the bill. The influential lobbying group recently reiterated its position that dangerous individuals should not have access to firearms, but cautioned that no one’s constitutional right to guns should be infringed upon.

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"It is not enough anymore to simply say that 'we need more background checks.' Considering both suspects in El Paso and Dayton passed them, that is rhetoric for billionaire activists and campaign rallies -- not a call for constructive progress,” the NRA tweeted.