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Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell releases gun control plan

Swalwell: "We have a really bad kid at the White House"

Rep. Eric Swalwell released an extensive gun violence prevention plan Monday that includes an assault-style rifle ban and buyback and new legal requirements for gun ownership.

Swalwell, a Democratic presidential candidate, has repeatedly said his presidential platform would be centered on gun violence prevention, and on Monday called for significant investments in mental health and safety programs. The plan does not go as far as some other Democratic gun control plans, such as Sen. Cory Booker's proposal, which would require potential gun owners to go through a process that includes an interview, passing a gun safety course and background check, and being fingerprinted. 

Swalwell's plan calls for those who refuse to give up their assault rifles to be prosecuted unless they keep those guns at hunting lodges or shooting ranges. He also took aim at gun manufactures, saying the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Guns Act, a federal law that protects gun manufacturers from civil liability, should be repealed. Additionally, he said gun companies should be forced to stop manufacturing assault-style rifles.

Nationally, a majority of Americans do not support a ban on assault-style rifles, a Gallup poll found last year.

"There's nothing that we propose here today that is at odds with what [the NRA] claims they stand for," Swalwell said at the news conference near the NRA's national headquarters in Northern Virginia, surrounded by nearly a dozen gun violence survivors and activists.

But Swalwell's plan also includes the creation of a national firearm registry, a policy pro-gun groups like the NRA have long opposed.

The California congressman, who regularly appears on Fox News and says he comes from a Republican family, has previously said that he doesn't oppose gun ownership, only that it needs greater regulation.

"I think the greatest threat to the Second Amendment is doing nothing," he said in April on CNN's "State of the Union."

Swalwell's campaign says the proposal looks to curb mass shootings and urban gun violence, limiting the amount of ammunition an individual can purchase at once and investing in various community-based programs aimed at creating opportunities and combating gang violence.

The plan also calls for the federal government to invest in public school safety and to fund evidence-based threat assessment programs, as well passage of the STOP School Violence Act, which would authorize millions in funding for additional school safety. 

Additionally, Swalwell's plan calls for every public school district to have access to at least one social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional for every 700 students. He also hopes to expand mental health services to prevent gun suicides.

The plan is vague on how these new initiatives would be funded, but Swalwell said that reversing President Trump's tax cuts and reducing spending on nuclear weapons would cover them. 

Nearly 40,000 people died at the hands of firearms in the United States in 2017, the most in any year recorded, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"I just happen to believe we don't have to live this way, and if we get this right in the White House and with the next congress, we won't," Swalwell said.

Correction: This piece has been updated to reflect the findings of the Gallup poll, in which a majority of Americans say they do not support a ban on assault-style rifles.