California Democratic Senator and presidential front-runner Kamala Harris told a CNN town hall in Des Moines on Monday that Congressmen in 2012 should have been placed in “a locked room, no press, no one, nobody else” and required to examine “the autopsy photographs of those babies” killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.
Then, and only then, would the legislators be able to “vote their conscience,” she concluded.
Harris announced her bid for the Democratic nomination on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and has since been hailed as one of the leading candidates in a crowded primary.
Her comments on gun control were in response to a question by a pastor from Des Moines.
“As you know, the rates of gun violence in America are astronomically higher than in other western democracies,” he said. “What would you be prepared to do to address the problem of gun violence?”
“We have got to have smart gun safety laws in this country,” Harris responded. “We’ve got to stop buying this false choice. You can be in favor of the Second Amendment and also understand that there is no reason in a civil society that we have assault weapons around communities that can kill babies and police officers.”
She described universal background checks as making “perfect sense” and called an “assault weapons” ban a “good idea.”
Before her short stint in the Senate, Harris served as California’s Attorney General, where she used her position to help restrict Second Amendment rights in the Golden State.
Among other things, she sided with local law enforcement in 2014 to restrict the concealed carry rights of California residents. When a three-judge panel of the federal 9th Circuit Court ruled that a local sheriff’s “good cause” policy was unconstitutional, she asked the ruling to be reviewed by the full nine-judge court.
“Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon,” she said in a news release. “I will do everything possible to restore law enforcement’s authority to protect public safety, and so today am calling on the court to review and reverse its decision.”
As we reported at the time, the full court struck down the previous ruling and maintained California’s “good cause” requirement.
Attorney General Harris also defended a state law that blocked gun dealers from displaying signs that show or describe handguns. While the law was eventually overturned, critics noted that her defense of the 1923 statue was nothing more than a bid to pad her anti-gun credentials.
As a U.S. Senator, Harris backed a bill to ban “assault weapons” as well as “high-capacity magazines” capable of holding more than ten rounds.