There's already a concerted gaslighting effort underway to convince voters that Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee, would never support something as crazy as the confiscation of millions of firearms.
Take this USA Today factcheck headlined “Kamala Harris didn’t say she’d send police to take firearms via executive order.” You may notice the highly narrow specificity of this debunking. It’s a little game political media like to play — the Associated Press miraculously ran almost an identical piece on the same day — in which reporters take a hyperbolic backbencher’s comments or a misleading social-media post — in this case, a Facebook post that is “gaining traction” — and use it as a strawman to deceive voters about one of the controversial positions of their favored politician.
While USA Today is correct that Harris has never explicitly maintained that she would sign an executive order to “send police” to break down your door, she is the first person to be on a major presidential ticket in American history who openly supports gun confiscation. Whether she promised to implement those plans through legislation or via executive order is also, at best, opaque, despite factcheckers’ efforts to claim otherwise.
For one thing, USA Today insinuates that Harris, answering a question at an AFSCME forum in Las Vegas, denied she supported gun confiscation. I’m sorry, but her answer to the Washington Examiner’s Kerry Picket — “I’m actually prepared to take executive action to put in place rules that improve this situation” — isn’t by any standard a denial. In responding to the question, Harris not only failed to deny that she supported the confiscation of semi-automatic rifles, she also didn’t deny that she supported unilaterally creating a national database of gun owners. Somehow, though, USA Today and the Associated Press missed the numerous occasions on which Harris promoted her gun confiscation position. The latter, in fact, claimed that Harris merely backed a “renewal of the assault weapons ban,” which is factually inaccurate. The assault-weapons ban of 1994 only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the law’s enactment. Harris supports retroactively making guns illegal — and then taking them through a mandatory buyback program.
The California senator said so unambiguously on Jimmy Fallon’s show in September 2019. She did so again the next month at an anti–Second Amendment event hosted by March for Our Lives, where she said, “We have to have a buyback program and I support a mandatory gun buyback program. It’s got to be smart. We’ve got to do it the right way but there are five million [assault weapons] at least, some estimate as many as 10 million, and we’re going to have to have smart public policy that’s about taking those off the streets but doing it the right way.”
That event, it should be noted, was billed as a policy a forum on “gun safety” — the same euphemism Harris used in the primary debate where she warned that she would circumvent the legislative branch on gun policy:
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.
So where did USA Today get the idea that Harris’ theoretical “gun safety” executive order would not include a ban on the most popular rifle in the United States?
Here’s a fact check: Police would almost certainly be sent to homes of Americans to take guns if a “mandatory buyback” program were instituted. AR-15s aren’t “on the streets.” They are hardly ever used in crimes at all. The vast majority of AR-15s are in homes — somewhere around 15-20 million of them, depending on what arbitrary designation Democrats use to define “assault weapon.”
The police, incidentally, are already coming to people’s doors in California, where the state’s evolving restrictions on gun ownership are impossible for citizens keep up with even when they make a good-faith effort. These are the restrictions Harris would like to implement nationally.
By implement, I mean compel. A “mandatory buyback” would mean the police coming to plenty of doors, because in the United States there will almost certainly be a great pushback against such authoritarianism, even if Harris could get away with it.
Once the state is permitted to ban guns over their aesthetics — since AR-15s share the mechanics of many other firearms — it will almost certainly be empowered to ban any semi-automatic gun. This is the ultimate goal of these incremental efforts to inhibit and eliminate gun ownership.
USA Today claims that Harris went out of her way to warn about conflating lawful gun ownership and illegal gun ownership, saying that “they are separate and they are different” as if this dispels the notion that she is a would-be gun grabber. Surely Ella Lee at USA Today understands that Harris supports efforts which would transform millions of law-abiding Americans — 99 percent of whom have gone through criminal background checks and never used their guns in any illicit way — into instant lawbreakers.
That’s the point. And a misleading Facebook meme doesn’t change that reality.