A would-be Democratic presidential candidate and her anti-gun rights views

  • 23 January 2018
  • NormanL
A would-be Democratic presidential candidate and her anti-gun rights views

One Demcorat on the short list of potential 2020 presidential contenders in California Sen. Kamala Harris (D). While Harris is unknown to most voters, there is one item in her background worth noting: her long, strong distaste for the Second Amendment.

As Reason's Brian Doherty writes, Harris has a seat on the Senate Judiciary committee, which gives her ample opportunity for mischief. It's a talent she put on full display during her tenure as attorney general of California:

Gun rights advocates often raise the specter of armed state agents going door to door to confiscate firearms. Kamala Harris helped make that worst-case-scenario a reality in California. Her attorney general's office presided over California's Armed Prohibited Persons System, which spent at least $24 million sending police to citizens' homes to take away weapons.

The target of this "common sense gun control" measure: people who had once been legal gun owners, but had since lost their right to own a firearm due an ever-expanding definition of unfitness, which includes having committed certain crimes, falling under a restraining order, or being adjudicated mentally ill. (The state's databases of these failings are known to be highly unreliable.)

In April 2017, California was forced to return 500 weapons it had illegally confiscated from one citizen in 2015 under Harris' aggressive implementation of that program. Despite the fact that she never demonstrated any concrete threat from the over 18,000 citizens who received visits from her agents and had property taken from them, Harris proudly announced that "removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals makes our communities safer."

And it gets much worse:

Her general attitude about gun possession and gun law—despite the fact that she is a senator of a state where gun ownership continues to climb even as violent crime has dropped faster than the national average—is that gun policy should be dictated by how comfortable you feel after looking at autopsy photos of the children murdered at Sandy Hook elementary school. Literally. Speaking in October 2015 at "Politicon" in Los Angeles she advised that before any vote related to gun control or gun rights "They should have closed the chambers of Congress, on the House and the Senate side, and said all you members go in there, only you, and spread out the autopsy photos of those babies and require them to look at those photographs. And then vote your conscience."

Harris is so uncomfortable with the Second Amendment she's willing to jab at the First Amendment while hobbling it, as shown by her support as California's attorney general for a state law restricting how handgun sellers can advertise. She so delights in pettily bedeviling gun owners that her department in California tried to enforce restrictions on how many guns could be purchased per month by those who hold certain special collectors' licenses even though both the letter of the law and previous practice said they were exempt, and stuck to her lack of principle on the issue until she got sued over it in 2014.

Harris' attitudes toward the Second Amendment almost guarantee that should she seek national office, squelching the Second Amendment will be one of her top campaign issues.

All the better, then, to watch closely what she does on the Judiciary Committee and whether her demonstrated hostility to gun rights finds new, and even more dangerous, ways to express itself.