Harris Pivots Away From Gun Control EO Action Two Days After Boulder Massacre
Vice President Kamala Harris suggested the White House might opt against taking executive action on guns, despite mounting outside pressure after two mass shootings in a week.
“We should first expect the U.S. Congress to act,” Harris told CBS This Morning during an interview on Wednesday.
Asked if President Biden would take executive action, Harris said, “I don’t think the president is excluding that, but again, I want to be clear, that if we really want something that is going to be lasting, we need to pass legislation.”
Harris, a former California Democratic senator, said she was “not willing to give up” on efforts to reach the “hearts and minds and the reason” of the evenly split upper chamber’s members.
A day earlier, Biden urged lawmakers to pass a bill banning weapons like the AR-15-style firearm police say a shooter in Boulder, Colorado, used to kill 10 people, including a police officer, on Monday. He also called for a ban on high-capacity magazines.
Passing legislation would ensure gun control measures are permanent. The White House has resisted pressure from gun control groups to crack down unilaterally on firearms.
“If the Congress acts, then it becomes law,” Harris said.
The Boulder grocery store shooting came one week after a different attacker killed eight people in Atlanta, mostly Asian American women.
Biden had pledged on the campaign trail to take action on gun control with the help of former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, after earning the lawmaker’s endorsement.
O’Rourke, who called for a mandatory gun buyback program, vowed during a Democratic primary debate: “Hell, yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” He was branded Biden’s “gun control czar” after endorsing him.
But the president has yet to bring aboard his former primary rival and has not moved unilaterally on guns.
O’Rourke “doesn’t have any official role,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last month.
Harris, who previously supported a mandatory buyback of assault weapons, told CBS News during the Democratic primary that if Congress fails to act, her administration would have taken executive action on “a ban on the importation of assault weapons.”
She reiterated her position on assault weapons during the interview Wednesday and also called for universal background checks.
Advocates for increased controls have asked the White House to move forward on gun issues, pointing to the record number of executive orders Biden has signed over his first 60 days in office.
Author: Katherine Doyle
Source: Washington Examiner: Harris pivots away from gun control executive action two days after Boulder massacre