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Harris: No, gun control doesn't mean people will 'come after your guns'

In the wake of two mass shootings, the vice president is calling on Congress to act on gun control.

By Emily Singer - March 24, 2021
Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday morning that gun control is urgently needed to stop the spate of mass shootings in the United States, adding that Republicans are presenting a “false choice” between commonsense gun laws and getting rid of the Second Amendment.

Harris made the comments in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” in which she discussed two mass shootings that took place within one week: First the shooting at a series of spas in Georgia that killed eight people — six of them of Asian descent — and then Monday’s mass shooting at a supermarket in Colorado that left 10 dead.

“It is time for Congress to act,” Harris told CBS’ Gayle King. “And stop with the false choices. This is not about getting rid of the Second Amendment. It’s simply about saying we need reasonable gun safety laws. There is no reason why we have assault weapons on the streets of a civil society. They are weapons of war. They are designed to kill a lot of people quickly. We all agree that we need background checks, but the point here is that Congress needs to act.”

President Joe Biden endorsed an assault weapons ban, as well as stricter background check laws, following the two shootings, saying Tuesday that passing those things amount to “commonsense steps that will save lives in the future.”

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again,” Biden said at the White House on Tuesday, saying that a previous assault weapons ban led to a decrease in gun deaths. “We should do it again.”

House Democrats already passed two such bills in March: One that would require background checks for all gun purchases and another that gives the FBI 10 days to conduct background checks on gun buyers, up from the current three.

The short amount of time the FBI currently has to vet gun purchasers — three days — has become known as the Charleston loophole, as Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who shot nine members of a historic Black church in the city, was able to buy a gun despite a drug arrest that should have blocked the purchase.

Polls show the gun control bills are overwhelmingly popular.

House Democrats had already passed the same universal background check bill in 2019 after they took back control of the House from Republicans. Yet then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never put it up for a vote.

Now that Democrats control the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could put the bills up for a vote. Senate Republicans could block their passage by using the filibuster.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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