By: Teresa Mull
Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s presumptive vice-president, has suggested America “honor” the victim of the Sandy Hook mass shooting by enacting laws that would make future such tragedies more likely.
"Today marks 8 years since 20 first-graders and 6 educators were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. To honor the lives lost in this terrible tragedy, it's past time we implement common-sense gun safety reforms to keep our children safe."
Let’s review what “common sense” means to Harris:
“…Part of the practical solution is to agree that we need smart gun safety laws, which include universal background checks, which include the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban. Period,” Harris told reporters during her campaign for president.
In April, during a townhall, she said, “Upon being elected I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action. And specifically, what I will do is put in place a requirement that for anyone who sells more than five guns a year, they are required to do background checks when they sell those guns. I will require that for any gun dealer that breaks the law the ATF take their license.”
That’s not all…
Harris wants to ban the importation of AR-15s, claiming they are not "suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."
As GPM readers know, the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 didn’t work. For one thing, as the Foundation for Economic Education notes, “…[M]ass shootings involving [assault weapons] constitute 0.17 percent and 0.24 percent of all homicides and firearm homicides, respectively.” So banning a weapon that is rarely responsible for mass shootings will not, according to logic, cut down on mass shootings.
What’s more, our own DOJ concluded, “…should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Background checks have also proven to be ineffective. For one thing, the system we have in place is terribly flawed. Ninety-three percent of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s (NICS) denials are false-positives, meaning the system is denying the wrong people the right to own a gun.
Time Magazine analyzed some of the most recent mass shootings and concluded, “…it was difficult to point to cases where more expansive background checks would have saved lives. Many of the people who perpetrated these mass shootings passed background checks.” Adam Lanza, who carried out the Sandy Hook atrocities, took his weapons from his mother. And in many other cases, shooters do pass background checks, because the shooting they carry out is their first offense.
Harris also made no mention of repealing deadly "gun free zones," which make citizens who actually adhere to the law sitting ducks. Nearly 98 percent of mass shootings happen where guns are banned.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.