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On Wednesday, January 20, Kamala Harris will not only become the first female vice president, but she'll also become the first Black woman and first Asian-American woman to hold the position. Harris has made her position on the gun control debate clear: During her presidential campaign last year, Harris declared that she would sign an executive order "mandating background checks for customers of any firearms dealer who sells more than five guns a year," per the New York Times (opens in new tab), if Congress didn't take action within the first 100 days. She also stated that she would close the boyfriend loophole (opens in new tab) and ban assault weapons, and fugitives would not be allowed to purchase any handgun or weapon.
Since making those statements, she has remained consistent on her stance, and emphasized that it's possible for citizens to keep their Second Amendment rights while also passing effective gun control legislation that could save millions of lives. (For the record, she's a gun owner (opens in new tab).) In August 2019, four months after the executive order statement, Harris once again laid out (opens in new tab) her gun control proposal as president:
"As president, I will take executive action to:
→Revoke the licenses of gun manufacturers & dealers that break the law
→Require anyone who sells more than 5 guns/yr to run a background check on all gun sales
→Ban the importation of AR-15-style assault weapons"
Of course, there's a chance these proposals could shift now that Biden is the president-elect, but Biden has also maintained a strong stance on gun control. He has a close relationship with Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg (opens in new tab)—one of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018—and has a history of battling the National Rifle Association (NRA). In 1993, Biden helped pass the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (opens in new tab), which enacted the federal background check system. The following year, Biden and Senator Dianne Feinstein also passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons (opens in new tab) and high-capacity magazines.
Together, the NRA knows that Biden and Harris have a powerful stance on gun control. The gun rights advocacy group, which is currently being sued (opens in new tab) by New York Attorney General Letitia James, attacked Harris and Biden (opens in new tab) on Twitter immediately following Biden's VP announcement and claimed (opens in new tab) that "Harris's presidential campaign died soon after announcing extreme gun control agendas."
.@KamalaHarris gets it. She knows that racist Stand Your Ground laws make communities less safe and that solving America’s gun violence crisis requires common-sense, proven solutions. We can’t wait to elect her as our next vice president! #BidenHarris2020 #GunSenseMajority https://t.co/Lrh6r9vNfZAugust 11, 2020
The NRA's tweet is false, but quite telling of where Harris stands on gun control (opens in new tab). Two hours after Harris was officially selected as Biden's running mate, Everytown for Gun Safety (opens in new tab) sent out an email to subscribers stating that "we have the chance to elect the strongest president and vice president for gun safety in American history."
You can read the Biden administration's full plan for gun control measures here (opens in new tab). It includes: banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; requiring background checks for all gun sales; ending the online sale of firearms and ammunitions; and closing various loopholes that allow people to buy guns.
Gun Safety Is a Defining Issue of the Election (opens in new tab)
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