California Sen. Kamala Harris said on Wednesday that the United States must institute a mandatory gun “buyback” program to confiscate as many as 10 million firearms.
At an event in Las Vegas called the “2020 Gun Safety Forum,” MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked the Democratic presidential candidate how she would get “assault weapons” off the streets.
“As you know the ’94 assault weapons ban, it didn’t apply to weapons that were purchased before 1994,” Melvin said.
“What would you do about the millions of specifically assault weapons that are already in circulation?” he asked.
“We have to have a buyback program,” Harris responded. “I support a mandatory buyback program.”
“There are five million at least, some estimate as many as 10 million,” she added. “We’re going to have to have smart public policy that’s about taking those off the streets, but doing it in the right way.”
Harris has advocated a gun confiscation program multiple times since announcing her presidential candidacy.
“It’s a false choice that is born out of a lack of courage from leaders who must recognize and agree that there are some practical solutions to what is a clear problem in our country.”
Harris has co-sponsored fellow California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.
After Harris called for a gun buyback program during a CNN town hall in January, the National Rifle Association responded by pointing to a federally funded 2004 study that determined the 1994 “assault weapons” ban likely had little impact on gun crime rates.
“[Assault weapons] and [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban,” the study concluded.
The ’94 ban expired in 2004.
It is interesting to note that while the number of firearms in the U.S. has increased significantly since the early 1990s, the homicide rate has dropped.
Here is a chart of American gun ownership and American murder rate. Please explain how more guns inevitably means more murder. pic.twitter.com/TVOJZe2BTi
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 3, 2017
The homicide rate remained essentially the same after the ban was lifted in 2004 and the murder rate remained low and then decreased further in this decade.
FBI statistics show that handguns are far and away the most common weapons used in murders.
In 2017, 7,032 murder victims were killed in the U.S. by handguns versus 403 by rifles.
A survey published by the Department of Justice earlier this year found that over half of state and federal prisoners who possessed firearms at the time of their crimes obtained those guns illegally.
Of prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense, 56 percent had either purchased it from an underground market, stolen it or found it at the scene of the crime.
Another 25 percent obtained it from family members or friends, while just 7 percent “purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm dealer.”
The clear implication is that if the federal government reinstituted an assault weapons ban, its primary impact would be on law-abiding citizens.
Conservative commentator and gun rights advocate Madison Gesiotto told The Western Journal, “Like many other Democrats, Kamala Harris wants to ignore the facts and infringe on our Second Amendment rights.”
“Mandatory buyback is not the answer to the problems we face. These radical proposals are unconstitutional and the American people will not support this.”
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