Kamala Harris was in Philadelphia on Thursday for a campaign stop in a vital swing state, and she did a one-on-one interview with ABC 6’s Jim Gardner, who tossed up a few softball questions about the rising “gun violence” in the City of Brotherly Love. Homicides are up by more than 30% in the city, said Gardner before asking what the city can do to reduce the violence.
“Well, I mean, I can speak about gun violence as a national issue,” Harris responded. “And uh, nationally, there are so many areas that we need to focus on. There is the issue of what we need to do that is about smart gun safety law, and that means having background checks. Um, just asking the question about whether someone has been convicted of a violent felony before we allow them to purchase a gun.”
If universal background checks worked to reduce crime, we wouldn’t be seeing spikes in the homicide rate in places like New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, where background checks are required before anyone can legally purchase a firearm. New Mexico instituted universal background checks in 2019 and Albuquerque is likely to have a record-high number of homicides this year, while not a single person has been arrested or charged for transferring a firearm without going through a background check.
Universal background checks poll well, but they don’t actually do much to target criminal activity. It’s virtually impossible to proactively enforce background checks on private transfers, so as a crime prevention tool they’re meaningless. Their main benefit is for politicians who want to be able to say they’re “doing something” about violent crime.
Harris added that, “We need to make sure that we are dealing with the impact of gun violence on communities. It exacts so much trauma on a community, most of which we do not diagnose and treat. There is what we need to do that is about realizing in so many communities where you see these high rates of violence, they’re also the communities where you see low home ownership, there are underfunded public school programs and things of that nature. So all of these things need to happen in addition to making sure that there are the resources to investigate those cases and make sure that there’s going to be a consequence and accountability.”
Interestingly, Kamala Harris said nothing about the Biden/Harris campaign pledge to ban so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines. The Biden/Harris campaign has been downplaying their anti-gun agenda on the campaign trail, and for the most part the media has been happy to go along with their attempt to avoid any substantive discussion about how their agenda would impact tens of millions of legal gun owners. In this case, Gardner didn’t even ask a followup to Harris about her word salad of an answer, and just moved on to other topics.
Kamala Harris can try to avoid any mention of banning guns and magazines, but it’s still telling that the very first thing she talked about in terms of reducing violent crime was a gun control measure aimed at legal gun owners. Ensuring that there are actual consequences for violent criminals was an afterthought; just a minor aside that she threw in at the end of her statement.
If you lived in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the crime rate is sky-high, would Kamala Harris’ answer make you feel any better? Would it give you any hope? Would you think to yourself, “yeah, background checks should do it”? Of course not. Harris’ response seems like a focus-group tested response designed to appeal to suburban women, not the mothers and fathers who are scared to send their kids to school or to play in the park because of the drug and gang-related violence on the streets.
The Biden/Harris gun control agenda would be devastating to our Second Amendment rights. It would ban the most commonly sold rifles and the most commonly owned magazines in the nation, and require gun owners to either turn over the guns and magazines that they own or pay a hefty fee to register them with the federal government. “If you like your gun you can keep your gun,” they say. How well did that work out when they said the same thing about keeping your doctor under Obamacare?
The truth is that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden would create crimes where the Second Amendment used to be and would create criminals out of legal gun owners. That’s where their focus is. Harris didn’t mention anything about diverting more felon-in-possession cases to federal prosecutors, or using DOJ to implement programs like Project Ceasefire or Project Exit to target the most violent offenders in any given community.
No, her first thought was to pin the blame on legal gun owners, offer up a false promise of safety and security with her call for universal background checks, and avoid any mention of the gun and magazine ban that she and Biden have embraced. In a time of record-high gun sales, a ban on commonly-owned firearms and magazines isn’t what millions of new gun owners want to hear, even if it’s what Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have promised to deliver.