During her town hall on CNN Monday night, Senator Kamala Harris had some serious suggestions for what GOP NRA lawmakers should be required to do before voting.
January 29, 2019

In the first of what is sure to be many town halls on cable news, Senator Kamala Harris made her Iowa debut in front of a mostly friendly audience who had some tough questions for her. There were any number of questions and answers worth highlighting, but this strikes me as the moment worth remembering.

There is, after all, some advantages to having a prosecutor run for the presidency. I know, there is a lot of criticism of her, and she has an answer to that. But here's the advantage: She's seen the grave harm and carnage gun violence causes. She's seen the autopsy photos. And she thinks lawmakers who make gun laws -- or block reasonable gun safety laws -- ought to see them too.

I'm excited about our Democratic field for 2020. Regardless of who turns out to be the nominee, it is such a breath of fresh air to hear articulate candidates address the issues like adults.

Here's the rough transcript:

You know, here's the thing. We have got to have smart gun safety laws in this country, and we've got to stop buying this false choice: You can be in favor of the second amendment and also understand that there is no reason in a civil society that we can't have assault weapons around communities that can kill babies and police officers.

[ applause ]

Something like universal background checks: It makes perfect sense that you might want to make sure that before someone can buy a weapon that can kill another human being, you might want to know have they been convicted of a felony where they committed violence. That's just reasonable. You might want to know before they can buy that gun if a court has found them to be a danger to themselves or others. You just might want to know. That's reasonable.

[ applause ]

But here's the thing, and I'm just going to be very, very blunt about this. You know, for years i've asked folks in D.C., you know, is the NRA real or is it a paper tiger? Like what's the deal there? And the feedback is, well, 50/50. Here's what I've witnessed and what we have all witnessed.

We have witnessed a case where a seated member of Congress, acting in her official capacity as a member of the United States Congress, was shot and permanently injured. Her name is Gabby Giffords. The people who work with her every day, who know her -- you know, we have colleagues. We know them. We know their children. We break bread. We share holiday moments with them.

The people who knew her didn't act. She was acting in her official capacity, not on vacation somewhere. You would think even out of self-interest they would have acted. They failed to act.

20 6 and 7-year-old babies were massacred in Connecticut. They failed to act. Here's what I think. I think that somebody should have required -- and this is going to sound very harsh. 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. This has become issue.

[ applause ]

This has become a political issue, and it is -- there is no reason why we cannot have reasonable gun safety laws in this country. And guess what, guys. Here's the reality of it also. We're not waiting for a good idea. We have the good ideas, an assault weapons ban, background checks, right? We're not waiting for a tragedy. We have seen the worst human tragedies we can imagine.

So what's missing? What's missing is people in the United States Congress to have the courage to act the right way.

[ applause ]

And i'm so sorry for your loss, and I thank you for using your voice. But there are too many parents that are grieving the loss of their children, too many communities that are grieving the loss of lives that should never have been taken.

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