Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) made an emotional plea for increased gun control during CNN’s town hall in Iowa Monday night, arguing that her pro-Second Amendment colleagues should be forced to examine photos of dead children before voting on gun restrictions.
“I think somebody should have required all those members of Congress to go in a room — in a locked room, no press, nobody else — and look at the autopsy photographs of those babies. And then you vote your conscience,” Harris said, referring to the 20 children murdered by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
“This has become a political issue. This has become a political issue, and it is — there is no reason why we cannot have reasonable gun-safety laws in this country,” she added.
Harris, a former prosecutor and California state attorney general, argued that solutions, such as an assault-weapons ban and universal-background-check legislation, have been devised and proven effective, but cannot be implemented because her colleagues in Congress lack “the courage to act the right way.”
Popular support for increased gun control surged in the wake of the Parkland shooting last February on the back of a public pressure campaign launched by the student survivors of the tragedy, but quickly receded in the following months.
Since reclaiming the majority in the House in November, Democrats have vowed to prioritize the passage of a universal-background-check bill — legislation that Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes is more politically feasible in the current climate than an assault-weapons ban.