Kamala Harris says she owns a gun 'for personal safety' and wants to ban assault weapons

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) participates in a interview and question-and-answer session with leaders from historically black colleges and universities during a Thurgood Marshall College Fund event at the JW Marriott February 07, 2019 in Washington, DC
  • 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said on Thursday that she owns a gun “for personal safety,” and that “smart gun safety laws” need not infringe on the Second Amendment.
  • “I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do – for personal safety,” she told reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, according to CNN. “I was a career prosecutor.”
  • Harris is campaigning on her calls to implement “reasonable gun safety laws,” including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.
  • While Harris has focused her gun control efforts on banning assault weapons, handguns are the weapons used in the vast majority of gun deaths in the US.

2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said on Thursday that she owns a gun “for personal safety,” and that “smart gun safety laws” need not infringe on the Second Amendment.

“I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do – for personal safety,” she told reporters after attending a house party with supporters in Des Moines, Iowa. “I was a career prosecutor.”

Harris, who’s made an assault weapons ban central to her policy platform, argued that Americans don’t need to choose between protecting Second Amendment freedoms and reducing gun violence.

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“We are being offered a false choice,” she said. “You’re either in favour of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away. It’s a false choice that is born out of a lack of courage from leaders who must recognise and agree that there are some practical solutions to what is a clear problem in our country.”

Members of a grassroots gun control advocacy group, Mums Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, were at the Iowa gathering, according to CNN.

Harris has talked emotionally about gun violence on the campaign trail. During a January CNN town hall, Harris said her Republican colleagues in Congress should have been forced to confront graphic evidence of the deaths of the 20 elementary school students gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 before the lawmakers voted on gun regulations.

“I think somebody should have required all those members of Congress to go in a room, in a locked room, no press, nobody else, and look at the autopsy photographs of those babies,” Harris said. “And then you vote your conscience.”

While Harris has focused her gun control efforts on banning assault weapons, handguns are the weapons used in the vast majority of gun deaths in the US. Even in mass shootings, handguns are more likely to be used than rifles or assault weapons.

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