Vice President Harris will be a ‘leading voice’ on gun violence as we approach 2024

Washington — Biden-Harris campaign plans to make addressing Gun violence a key part of President Biden’s reelection effort, and Vice President Kamala Harris will be a “leading voice” on the issue, according to senior Democratic sources.

On Friday, Harris will mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day with a speech at a high school in Springfield, Va., named after John Lewis, the late Democratic congressman and civil rights icon.

Harris’ remarks will highlight the president’s commitment to ending gun violence and “underscore the fear and trauma experienced by students, teachers and parents as a result of gun violence,” according to an official. the White House.

“Parents shouldn’t have to pray after dropping their child off at school that they’ll be safe in class. They shouldn’t fear the worst every time they get a text or call from the their child’s school,” Harris plans to say, according to an excerpt of his prepared remarks shared with CBS News. “Teachers shouldn’t have to start every new year by telling a child how to barricade the classroom door. Kindergarten students shouldn’t have to practice locking drills and rehearsing how to turn off the lights and hide quietly in a closet.”

Harris will also call for “common sense gun safety reforms” and call out “extremist leaders for their hypocrisy,” the official said.

So far in 2023, there have been 268 shootings in which four or more people have been shot, according to Gun Violence Archive, which tracks mass shootings. The Biden-Harris administration plans to renew its efforts to highlight what administration officials have called a “public health crisis.”

“Weapons of war have no place on the streets of a civil society. Background checks and red flag laws are common sense because it is reasonable to want to know before someone buys a gun from fire if found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others,” Harris will also say Friday in Virginia, a rebuke to Republican opposition to the administration’s gun violence initiatives.

“Most people understand: it’s a false choice to suggest that we have to choose between either respecting the 2nd Amendment or passing reasonable gun safety laws,” she added.

The Vice President visited communities reeling from mass shootings and recently met with lawmakers expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives who protested gun violence on the floor of the chamber. Protesters had flooded the state capitol following a March 2023 school shooting in Nashville.

The vice president’s focus on gun violence reflects public sentiment around the issue. Americans now say gun violence is their top public health concern, according to a May poll by Axios-Ipsos.

The vice president has also instructed her team to consider other potential actions against gun violence outside of an executive order, sources familiar with the matter said.

Mr Biden has long called for tougher gun laws, most recently to mark a year since the shooting that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.

“In every place we hear the same message – do something. For God’s sake, please do something,” Biden said last month. “We have to do this to save our children.”

The president signed bipartisan legislation in 2022 — the most sweeping gun laws in decades — that tightened background checks, stopped convicted domestic abusers from buying guns and made it easier to establish by states red flag laws. He also signed an executive order earlier this year that increased background checks and promoted safer gun storage.

But with limited executive power, Mr. Biden and Harris have repeatedly called on Congress to pass additional legislation, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, something Republican leaders veto. oppose. Congress is unlikely to do more as an election year approaches. Recent CBS News poll shows that Americans are still sharply divided on gun policy, with most believing that neither side is particularly effective at preventing violence.

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