Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her running mate Joe Biden want to make “large capacity magazines” illegal to own from coast-to-coast, so there’s a delicious irony in the fact that Harris makes a cameo appearance in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion declaring the state of California’s ban on “large capacity magazines” a violation of the constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment.
Deep within his opinion, Judge Kenneth Lee refers to a statement by Harris as part of his argument that the state’s ban on ammunition magazines that can accept more than ten rounds of ammunition “substantially burdens” the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
While Hollywood and the Bay Area symbolize California to the world, the Golden State is in fact a much more diverse and vibrant place, with people living in sparsely populated rural counties, seemingly deserted desert towns, and majestic mountain villages. In such places, the closest law enforcement may be far, far away — and it may take substantial time for the county sheriff to respond. And it is no guarantee that the things that go bump in the night come alone; indeed, burglars often ply their trade in groups recognizing strength in numbers.
Law abiding citizens in these places may find security in a gun that comes standard with an LCM. Further, some people, especially in communities of color, do not trust law enforcement and are less likely — over 40% less likely, according to one study — to call 911 even during emergencies. See 163 Cong. Rec. S1257-58 (daily ed. Feb. 16, 2017) (statement of Sen. Kamala Harris) (discussing a study showing that certain ethnic groups are over 40% less likely to call 911 in an emergency)… These citizens may rely more on self-defense than the “average” person in a home invasion or some other emergency.
The statement from Harris that Judge Lee refers to was part of her first speech on the Senate floor after becoming the junior senator from California in 2016. As you might have guessed, she wasn’t trying to make some sort of pro-Second Amendment argument, but was instead excoriating the Trump administration for its executive orders dealing with illegal immigration. As Politifact reported at the time:
In her first official speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Sen. Kamala Harris said President Trump’s executive actions “have hit our immigrant and religious communities like a cold front, striking a chilling fear in the hearts of millions of good hardworking people.”
The California Democrat went on to say that rather than making communities safe, Trump’s immigration raids and policies will make immigrants less likely to report crimes for fear they’ll be deported.
“For this reason,” Harris said in her Feb. 16, 2017 speech, “studies have shown Latinos are more than 40 percent less likely to call 911 when they have been a victim of a crime.”
Politifact reached out to Harris’s press secretary, who cited a 2013 study from a University of Chicago professor that used a poll of 2,000 Hispanic legal and illegal residents of Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Houston.
One of the survey questions asked respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement: “I am less likely to contact police officers if I have been the victim of a crime for fear that they will ask me or people I know about our immigration status.”
Overall, 44 percent of respondents agreed with the statement.
That’s just about what Harris said in her claim.
Politifact rated Harris’ claim as “Mostly True,” but only because she said that “studies” when she could cite a single study. That’s irrelevant to the point that Judge Kenneth Lee made with his citation of the senator’s comments, which was that if residents are less likely to call police when they’re the victims of violent crime, their right of self-defense may be put to use more frequently than those who are willing to dial 9-1-1 at the first sign of an intruder.
It’s not the main thrust of Lee’s argument, and he could have taken out the quote by Kamala Harris without doing any real harm to his opinion, but I’m really glad he included it, because Kamala Harris and Joe Biden want to impose a California-style magazine ban on every American gun owner. In fact, under the Biden/Harris gun control plan anyone who failed to register their “large capacity magazine” under the National Firearms Act would be subject to federal felony charges, and the future sale of magazines with a capacity greater than ten rounds would be banned completely.
At some point, perhaps a reporter will ask either of the candidates how a gun owner would go about registering a magazine, given the fact that they don’t have serial numbers. Biden’s plan is completely unworkable as is, and it’s likely that the Democrats will simply revise the language to mandate the destruction of those magazines, or demand that they be turned over to authorities. Given the determination of the Democratic ticket to turn our Second Amendment rights into a privilege to be exercised by a chosen few, it’s nice to be able to cite the Democratic vice-presidential nominee’s own words as a rebuttal to her argument that these owning these commonly-possessed magazines should be a criminal offense.