She made the announcement on Good Morning America, where she shared what makes her a good candidate. “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe,” Harris said, referencing her former role as state attorney general. “It’s probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else, and when I look at this moment in time, I know the American people deserve to have somebody who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who will care about them, who will be concerned about their experience, and put them in front of self-interests.”
Just days before announcing, Harris addressed how detrimental gun violence is. “A real national emergency is the epidemic of gun violence in America,” she wrote on Twitter. “On average, 96 people die from it every single day. Let's do something about that.”
A real national emergency is the epidemic of gun violence in America. On average, 96 people die from it every single day. Let's do something about that.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 12, 2019
Harris is a supporter of the Second Amendment who has also made it clear that she backs “common-sense” gun control. In an interview with The Breakfast Club last year, she discussed her support for the Constitution while also advocating for oversight. “Assault weapons shouldn't be walking the streets of a civilized country. We should have universal background checks,” Harris said. “It makes sense.”
Before announcing her run, Harris said on Twitter that 2019 policy priorities for the country should include common-sense gun safety reform among Medicare For All, tackling climate change, campaign finance reform, and cutting middle-class taxes.
In the new year we need to prioritize:— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 31, 2018
✅Medicare for All
✅Common-sense gun safety reforms
✅Tackling climate change
✅Campaign finance reform
✅Cutting middle-class taxes
According to Harris’s new campaign site, she has championed the issue as California’s attorney general, where she prosecuted transnational gangs for trafficking in guns and drugs. In a 2011 gun sweep that Harris led in California, more than 1,200 firearms were collected from individuals who were either mentally unstable or convicted of a crime that would not allow them to have a firearm.
In 2015, Harris further made her case for being pro-Second Amendment, but with stricter laws in place. At Politico’s Politicon convention, she described herself as “a good marksman" and said she has shot a gun “many times," all while calling out the lack of gun control reform in America. This conversation came after a week of school shootings in Oregon, Texas, and Arizona.
Harris made the case that more should have been done after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to prevent the continuation of mass shootings on campuses. “How is it, after 20 babies — six- and seven-year-olds at Sandy Hook, slaughtered — that they don’t act?” she said, two years before making her debut in Washington.
“I’ll tell you what I think should have happened, is that they should have closed the chambers and Congress on this — House and Senate side," Harris 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.”
In another urge for smart gun safety laws, Harris said something similar after the Parkland school shooting last year. “When you see the effect of this extreme violence on a human body and especially the body of a child, maybe it will shock some people into understanding," she told MSNBC. "This cannot be a political issue. We have to be practical."
To all appearances, gun control will continue to be at the forefront of her campaign, including opposition to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that teachers and school employees should be armed to defend students.