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Kamala Harris Avoids Question About Executive Orders On Guns

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The White House is sending Vice President Kamala Harris in front of the cameras to stump for gun control in Congress, but Harris doesn’t have much to say about what, if any, executive actions the Biden-Harris administration is weighing when it comes to gun control.

Speaking to CBS News, Harris awkwardly sidestepped a direct question about executive actions, saying instead that “we should first expect the U.S. Congress to act,” adding, “I’m not willing to give up on what we must do to appeal to the hearts and minds and the reason of the members of the US Senate.”

“We are seeing tragedy after tragedy after tragedy,” Harris said.

But challenged on what action the Biden administration would take to confront the mass shooting epidemic, Harris indicated that no unilateral executive action was immediately on the table.

“I don’t think the president is excluding that,” Harris said, “but I want to be clear that if we really want something that is lasting, we need to pass legislation.”

She called on voters and activists to keep the pressure up on Congress to impose universal background checks for gun purchases, a broadly popular proposal.

“Let’s say that we’re going to hold our elected people accountable if they’re not gonna be with us on what we need in terms of reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris said.

I would have loved to have heard a follow-up question from the hosts of CBS This Morning asking what exactly is “reasonable” about wanting to put someone in federal prison for a year for loaning a gun to their neighbor or selling a gun to their cousin without first putting them through a background check, but that’s not how the media works. An anti-gun politician gets to spout off their talking points with little to no pushback from media outlets, who quickly move on to other topics.

It’s also telling that Harris doesn’t want to talk about any new executive actions from the White House, even though as a candidate for president both Biden and Harris (during her brief presidential campaign) said that they would impose a ban on the importation of many semi-automatic rifles once they were in office. No matter what Harris says, at the moment it’s easier for the Biden White House to sign executive actions than it is for Congress to pass gun control.

More than two months after inauguration day, Biden has yet to take any administrative actions, and as Time reports, gun control activists are getting increasingly antsy over the lack of action from the White House.

“We are certainly considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive actions,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, to address “gun safety measures” and “violence in communities.”

But nothing has materialized yet. Among gun control activists, the deadly shootings in Atlanta and Boulder have not only reinforced the need for the Biden Administration to step in, but also intensified simmering frustrations from years of inaction. Some activists have privately questioned the White House’s commitment to quickly taking executive actions on guns, and are angry that the Administration has not installed an official to specifically handle gun violence prevention, according to one source familiar with the situation. Others are disappointed that the Administration has not confronted this issue the way it has taken on climate change, another source says, an issue which has already been the subject of several executive orders and a robust interagency response.

It honestly is pretty amazing that Biden hasn’t put out any executive orders dealing with firearms, though the administration’s excuse is that they’ve been waiting for Merrick Garland to be confirmed by the Senate as the next Attorney General. Now that Garland’s in place at the Justice Department, we’re probably see some action from the administration in the near future, with a requirement that sales of unfinished frames and receivers go through a background check the most likely possibility.

Would that have prevented the shootings in Georgia or Colorado? Of course not, but then again, neither would the background check bills that have been approved by the House. For that matter, Biden’s gun and magazine ban wouldn’t have prevented those crimes either. Again, there’s nothing reasonable at all about what Democrats are proposing. The restrictions they’re demanding wouldn’t have stopped these crimes from taking place, but they would infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans if they became law. That’s reason enough for many of us to oppose the agenda of gun control activists, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to be enough to stop the Biden administration from eventually moving forward with their anti-gun executive actions.

 

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Apr 15, 2021 2:30 PM ET