On Monday night, Sen. Kamala Harris, one of the approximately two million Democrats running for president in 2020, staked out a strong stance on using executive authority to advance gun control.
In answer to a question at her CNN town hall event, Harris said she was prepared to use the power of the executive office to craft gun control policy were she elected president.
“There are people in Washington, D.C., supposed leaders,” Harris said on CNN, “who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice which suggests you’re either in favor of the second amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”
“We need reasonable gun safety laws in this country, starting with universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapon ban,” she continued, “but they have failed to have the courage to act.”
Harris came out in favor of mandatory background checks for customers of any gun salesperson who sells more than five guns a year. Her proposed orders also include more intense regulation of gun manufacturers, and closing the loophole that has allowed some domestic abusers to purchase guns.
She also made it clear that she was serious about using executive power to make these changes, saying she would issue the orders if Congress didn’t implement her policies within the first 100 days of her theoretical term.
Harris isn’t the only 2020 candidate who has made strong gun control policy a central part of her platform. Rep. Eric Swalwell, another Bay Area politician, has focused almost exclusively on gun control as he has entered the race. Swalwell has proposed a government buyback program for semi-automatic weapons in addition to increased background checks.
The former prosecutor addressed other hot topics in her town hall, including her support for Sen. Bernie Sanders Medicare for All bill and her thoughts on voting rights for ex-felons.
In her last town hall, Harris said that she supported getting rid of private insurance. A few days later, she backpedaled on that stance. This time around, Harris tried to skirt the reality that Sanders’ Medicare for All plan would largely eliminate private health insurance in the U.S.
“I’m for supplemental private insurance,” Harris said.
Single-payer systems abroad often allow people to purchase supplemental insurance. But transitioning to Medicare for All would do away with the massive health insurance industry as it exists in the U.S. today.
On the subject of voting rights for ex-felons, Harris gave another careful answer, saying “we should have that conversation,” without revealing her own position.
But Harris did come out strong on one other topic: impeaching President Trump.
“We have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice. I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment,” Harris said.
At her town halls earlier in the night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren restated her support for impeaching the president. Sanders, during his town hall, told Democrats they shouldn’t get overly attached to the idea of impeachment, warning that it could backfire.