Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) endorsed numerous gun control policies during her short-lived presidential campaign in last year’s Democratic primary. Despite 15 candidates outlasting her in the primary, Harris now finds herself potentially a heartbeat away from the presidency should the Biden campaign prevail.
That being said, it is worth understanding where Harris’ stands on guns and the 2nd amendment.
The following are Harris’ seven most prominent gun control policies.
1. Universal Background Checks — Harris tweeted her support for universal background checks on March 1, 2018. The U.S. has had background checks on retail gun sales since 1998, but Harris wants to expand those checks to make them “universal,” so as to include private sales too. These universal checks have been in place in California since the early 1990s, one immediate outworking of which was to criminalize private gun sales that occur apart from getting government approval via a background check. In other words, it criminalizes the act of a friend selling a five-shot revolver to a lifelong friend or a neighbor to decades-old neighbor. But these policies are ineffective when it comes to preventing street criminals from selling guns to other street criminals in alleyways, drug houses, and parking lots across the state or throughout the country.
2. “Assault Weapons” Ban — On May 15, 2019, GQ reported on Harris’s “assault weapons” ban pledge, which the magazine described as “the latest piece of Harris’s 2020 gun-safety agenda, which was already among the most comprehensive from the lineup of Democratic hopefuls.” Her ban proposal would prohibit the importation of AR-15s. CNN reported that Harris’s proposal “would ban AR-15-style assault weapon imports because they are not ‘suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.'” Ironically, ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk defended the “sporting” aspect of AR-15 and AK-47 rifles in early 2017. On January 20, 2017, the Washington Post published a “White Paper” wherein Turk wrote, “The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’ has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.”
As Breitbart News previously reported, Joe Biden has endorsed a proposal to register so-called “assault weapons” like AR-15s under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), which means these gun owners could be required to register their AR-15s with federal authorities, submit their fingerprints and photographs, potentially submit to an FBI background check, and pay a $200 federal tax on AR-15s they already own, if these owners decide not to participate in any proposed federal buy back program. Biden’s proposal could also apply the same $200 tax and NFA registration requirements to every so-called “high-capacity” magazine a gun owner possesses, if the owner decides not to participate in any proposed buy back program.
3. Mandatory Government Buyback of Certain Firearms — On September 7, 2020, Breitbart News reported about Harris’s support of a government-mandated buyback of certain firearms. Bloomberg reported that Harris was not ready to explain how the buybacks would work, but she said they were “a good idea.” Her support of mandatory buybacks came around the same time that former Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke was declaring his intention to confiscate AR-15s. On August 22, 2019, O’Rourke voiced support for mandatory buybacks, and then on September 12, 2019, he made the leap to declaring, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-17.”
4. Weakening or All-out repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) — The PLCAA was adopted in 2005 to protect gun makers from frivolous suits over the criminal use of guns that were legally made and legally sold. Harris wants to get rid of PLCAA or at least weaken it so that the protection it provides for gun makers is minimal. In April 2019, CBS News reported that Harris “supports a repeal of [PLCAA].” Newsweek made clear that Harris’s plan is to at least weaken PLCAA. The magazine said, “Her campaign…issued a call to kneecap a federal law that protects gun manufacturers and sellers when their weapons are used in criminal activities.”
5. Prohibition of Rifle Purchases by 18 to 20 Year Olds — Harris supports raising the minimum federal age for rifle purchases to 21 years, thereby barring 18-20 year olds from all gun purchases (federal age for handgun purchases is already 21).
6. Opposition to Teachers Being Armed for Classroom Defense — Harris opposes arming teachers to defend themselves and their students in the classroom. Just over a year after the February 14, 2018, Parkland high school shooting in Florida, where the attacker circumvented the school’s armed resource officer and killed 17 people, Harris tweeted, “We need to give teachers a raise — not guns.” The tweet came just months after the commission investigating the Parkland shooting concluded that armed teachers could have at least mitigated the carnage witnessed in that attack. In fact, the investigative committee recommended that arming teachers was a crucial component of stopping school shootings.
7. Use of Executive Action to Bypass Congress and Enact New Gun Laws — On April 22, 2019, Breitbart News reported that Harris pledged to use executive action to go around Congress and secure gun control. She said, “Upon being elected, I will give the United States 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 I will take executive action.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.