Vice President Kamala Harris is urging lawmakers to pass what she says are “reasonable gun safety laws.”
During an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired on Sunday, Harris was asked why President Joe Biden is not focusing more on the issue of gun violence after it was reported that there were at least 45 mass shootings in March 2021.
She responded by noting that last month Biden took six executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence. She said, “There is only so much, however, that a president can do through executive action. This president, Joe Biden, has a long-standing history of speaking very clearly and unambiguously about the need for smart gun safety laws.”
“Congress has to act because we have to codify… make permanent, make the law. That we agree we should have background checks, that’s just reasonable safety laws. We should have an assault weapons ban. Assault weapons have been designed to kill a lot of people quickly. They are weapons of war,” she added.
When asked if she believed Congress would take action on gun control legislation, Harris responded, “It has to happen.”
Watch the video below:
Vice President Harris says the Biden administration has taken action on gun reform through executive orders however, there is only so much "that a president can do through executive action… Congress has to act” in order to make laws permanent. #CNNSOTU https://t.co/POtEpdtLGF pic.twitter.com/VBQWqh6aSj
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 25, 2021
Earlier this month, Biden announced he would take six executive actions in the wake of two mass shootings that gained national attention.
Speaking at the White House, he said, “Today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis.”
He went on to say that none of his exeuctive actions would infringe on Second Amendment rights.
“But no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech. In the beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. In the very beginning, when the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons. So, the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution.”
Finally, he said, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment.”
Among the executive actions Biden took included one aimed at stopping the proliferation of so-called “ghost guns,” which are kits that contain the components of guns that can be assembled in less than 30 minutes but hard for law enforcement to trace.
He also directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a proposed rule to restrict the use of arm braces which the White House says “effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle.”
In March, the House passed two gun control bills largely along party lines that would have required background checks for all gun buyers and given law enforcement more time to into those who were flagged by the background check system.
However, the Senate has not voted on either bill yet.
Due to the filibuster, a procedural hurdle used to slow down or derail votes on legislation, most bills need 60 votes to pass the Chamber. That means if every Democrat voted for the bills, they would need 10 Republicans to join them in voting for the measures for them to pass.
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