On top of Joe Biden’s calls for firearm confiscation, running mate Kamala Harris opposes the Constitution’s individual right to keep and bear arms. Collectively, their proposals to reject Americans’ rights to defend themselves and their families read like an anti-gunner’s wish-list.
With the selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to join presidential nominee Joe Biden as his pick for vice president, the 2020 Democratic ticket has achieved the dubious “honor” of being the most anti-gun presidential ticket in the history of the United States.
Between Biden’s calls for firearm confiscation and a draft Democratic Party Platform that seems to have been written by gun-control activists, the 2020 Democratic ticket was already shaping up to be the most anti-Second Amendment in history. With Biden’s choice of Harris for the vice presidential slot, the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party have cemented this shameful distinction.
Biden has already pledged his support for sweeping gun bans, magazines bans and firearm seizures without due process. In fact, Biden’s campaign page dedicated to gun control reads like a shopping list from anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and, in a way, it is. But, Harris takes this a step further by completely rejecting every law-abiding American’s right to defend themselves and their families.
Like failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Harris does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.
While serving as district attorney of San Francisco, Harris signed on to an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller. As readers of this magazine are well aware, the Heller case concerned a complete prohibition on the civilian ownership of handguns within the District of Columbia and whether or not the Second Amendment protects the individual right of law-abiding Americans to possess a firearm for self-defense. Yet, Harris herself has admitted she is a long-time handgun owner for the sole purpose of the individual right to self-defense—the hypocrisy is staggering.
By joining a brief that supported D.C., Harris completely rejected our right to keep and bear arms. Harris’s brief specifically endorsed the idea that the Second Amendment only protected a “collective right,” or, alternatively, that state and local governments could simply ignore the right and pass gun control. The brief argued, “courts have consistently sustained criminal firearms laws against Second Amendment challenges by holding that, inter alia, (i) the Second Amendment provides only a militia-related right to bear arms, (ii) the Second Amendment does not apply to legislation passed by state or local governments.”
As if this legal fiction were not a sufficient insult to the rights of all law-abiding gun owners, Harris’s brief further reiterated that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right, but rather, the lower court in Heller “create[d]” this right. It’s hard to conceive that any American could believe a court created our right to keep and bear arms when it has been a part of our foundational document since Dec. 15, 1791.
Harris’s brief also seemed to anticipate the Supreme Court’s next landmark Second Amendment case (McDonald v. Chicago), by arguing that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms should not be incorporated to the states. Had this thinking been adopted, state and local governments would have been empowered to curtail or even extinguish gun rights without restraint.
These extreme views put Harris at odds with the vast majority of the American people. A February 2008 Gallup poll conducted only a few months before the Supreme Court decided Heller found that 73 percent of American adults believed the Second Amendment protects an individual right of firearm ownership. In the intervening 12 years since that poll was conducted, millions of new Americans have made the decision to exercise their Second Amendment rights, so one can imagine that this number has shifted further toward the (correct) individual right view—look no further than the long lines around gun shops during the pandemic and the loud calls to slash law enforcement budgets.
More recently, in her votes against President Donald Trump’s pro-Second Amendment nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court, Harris once again expressed her extreme views on the U.S. Constitution. On Sept. 4, 2018, Harris delivered a speech to the Senate where she cited Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s fidelity to the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment as a reason for her opposition to his confirmation.
In addition to her incorrect and dangerous views on our constitutional rights, Harris has repeatedly voiced support for her own lengthy list of gun-control policies.
For starters, she wants to destroy the American firearm industry by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That law was passed in 2005 with wide bipartisan support, including progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, to protect American firearm manufacturers and retailers from frivolous lawsuits specifically designed to bankrupt the industry and make it impossible for Americans to exercise our right to keep and bear arms.
Harris is also a co-sponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 (S.66). Sold as a reinstatement of the failed 1994 Clinton semi-auto ban, S.66 is in fact a far more sweeping attack on Second Amendment rights.
The bill would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer and possession of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, including America’s most popular rifle. The 1994 ban prohibited firearms capable of accepting a detachable magazine that were equipped with two characteristics from a list of enumerated features—such as a collapsible stock, pistol grip or bayonet lug. S.66, on the other hand, would prohibit firearms capable of accepting a detachable magazine that have only one of the “offending” features. Moreover, the list of arbitrarily selected features has been expanded to target a wider array of firearms.
Further, the bill would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer and possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This measure would prohibit standard magazines for the most popular self-defense firearms in the country.
However, Harris has made clear that Feinstein’s broad attack on the Second Amendment does not go far enough for her liking. While S.66 would “grandfather” firearms and magazines currently lawfully possessed by American gun owners, Harris wants gun confiscation.
At a campaign event in Londonderry, N.H., in September 2019, then-presidential candidate Harris told reporters that confiscation of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms was “a good idea.” Elaborating on her support for a compulsory “buyback” program, she added, “We have to work out the details—there are a lot of details—but I do… . We have to take those guns off the streets.”
That same month on the “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Harris doubled down on her support for gun confiscation. During a question-and-answer session, an audience member asked Harris “Do you believe in the mandatory buyback of quote-unquote assault weapons and whether or not you do, how does that idea not go against fundamentally the Second Amendment?”
She responded, “I do believe that we need to do buybacks.” Making clear that she believes Americans’ Second Amendment rights are for sale, she added, “A buyback program is a good idea. Now we need to do it the right way. And part of that has to be, you know, buy back and give people their value, the financial value.”
Between Biden’s calls for firearm confiscation and a draft Democratic Party Platform that seems to have been written by gun-control activists, the 2020 Democratic ticket was already shaping up to be the most anti-Second Amendment in history.
Beyond the question of how the government can buy “back” something that it never owned in the first place, the concept of a mandatory buyback is just a fiction created by the gun-control movement to distort an unpopular policy. Using the term “buy” implies a willingness by both parties to engage in a transaction, but by making that transaction mandatory, with the threat of force for noncompliance, it’s clear that this is just gun confiscation by a different name.
Perhaps foreseeing that she would have some difficulty in getting this unconstitutional agenda that Americans have repeatedly rejected through Congress, Harris has already expressed her support for using executive power for gun control if the legislative branch fails to pass her anti-gun agenda.
According to Harris’s (now defunct) 2020 campaign website, “if Congress fails to send comprehensive gun safety legislation to Harris’ desk within her first 100 days as president—including universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and the repeal of the NRA’s corporate gun manufacturer and dealer immunity bill—she will take executive action . . .”
In other words, if Congress refuses to legislate in the manner she demands, Harris would break the law to legislate by decree.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because President Obama already tried, and failed, to use executive power this way. In late 2015, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Shultz told reporters that Obama “has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively,” adding, “The president has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon.”
Few could argue that the Obama administration didn’t exhaust the executive branch’s authority to unilaterally implement gun control. To put it another way, Harris has proposed to use executive action to enact gun control in a manner that even Biden’s former boss understood was illegal.
Fortunately, Americans will soon have a chance to prevent a Biden/Harris administration from ever becoming a reality.
NRA members and all American gun owners can once again play a pivotal role to make certain that we have a president and vice president who not only understand the importance of the Second Amendment, but will use the powers of their offices not to restrict our rights, but to fully restore them.
Please go to nrailafrontlines.org to find out how you can join the fight to help NRA-ILA’s election efforts.
Together we can re-elect President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and we can ensure that the most anti-Second Amendment presidential ticket in American history is relegated to the dustbin of history.