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Kamala Harris on Gun Control

Understanding the consequences of the 2020 election.

Kamala Harris on Gun Control

On August 11, 2020, former Vice President and Presidential Candidate Joe Biden announced that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) will be his running mate for the November 2020 election. Once a fierce opponent of Biden’s in the primary, they are now a team. Given that Biden will turn 78 years old in November means that, if elected, he will be the oldest person to take office as president of the United States. Actuarially speaking, this makes Biden’s vice-presidential pick the most important in U.S. history. A “Vice President Harris” would be a heartbeat away from the presidency, so it’s important for Americans to closely look at her record and public statements on gun control and the Second Amendment. 

Sen. Harris was relatively unknown to most Americans until the Democratic debates in 2019, but she’s no newcomer to elected office. After years as a prosecutor, Harris was elected as the District Attorney (DA) for San Francisco in 2007. She later became California’s Attorney General (AG), the chief law enforcement officer in America’s most populous state. In 2016, she replaced former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as the junior senator for the state of California. Harris received an “F” grade from the National Rifle Association (NRA) during that election. We don’t have to guess Harris’ opinion on gun control; her record is clear.

To be fair, let’s start with the positive news: under Harris’ tenure as a DA, the felony conviction rate in San Francisco rose from 53 to 76 percent. She was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, “It is not progressive to be soft on crime.” She was particularly tough on gun-related crimes, seeking mandatory sentences for carrying firearms and charging all “assault-weapons” possession cases as felonies. Second Amendment advocates often criticize politicians who favor gun control for not focusing on enforcing the gun laws that are on the books, something that she can’t readily be accused of doing.

As AG, Harris spearheaded an effort that led to the arrest of 1,200 individuals who were prohibited from possessing firearms under state law. Reportedly, Harris also owns at least one firearm, telling reporters on April 11, 2019, while campaigning in Iowa “I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do, for personal safety."

However, Harris is not a friend to gun owners. Her statements during the campaign tell a different story. CNN reported on April 22, 2019, “If she is elected president, she will give Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then she will take executive action.”

What is Harris’ definition of “reasonable gun safety laws?” Here are a few that she has publicly supported:

  • Repealing so-called “racist” stand-your-ground laws
  • Mandating universal background checks
  • Banning “assault weapons”
  • Repealing a Federal law that shields America’s gun manufacturers from predatory lawsuits
  • Require individuals who sell more than five guns per year to effectively act as licensed dealers.

These proposals are separate from the Biden campaign’s endorsed gun-control proposals that include:

  • Banning so-called “assault weapons”
  • Banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
  • Requiring legally owned semiautomatic firearms and magazines be registered like machine guns with the federal government under the National Firearms Act (NFA)
  • Enacting a one-gun-per-month purchase restriction
  • Ending all online sales of “firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.”

This list is not exhaustive.

In case there was any doubt as to the gun-control credentials of this team, look no further than those who have endorsed Sen. Harris as a candidate. The Bloomberg-funded gun-control group Moms Demand Action, who has pledged to spend $60 million to elect anti-gun candidates this cycle, praised Biden’s choice of running mate. “Vice President Biden and Senator Harris will be the strongest gun-safety ticket in American history, which speaks volumes about how quickly the political calculus has shifted away from the gun lobby and toward common-sense gun laws.”

Like Biden, Harris has a long and well-established record of opposing the ownership of millions of legally obtained firearms. You can’t argue that both have a desire to make it increasingly difficult to purchase, own and use a firearm — even in self-defense. If you trust current polls, Sen. Kamala Harris is our next vice president. It’s on us to get out the vote and change this course.

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