“You know what an assault weapon is?” Kamala Harris asked reporters on May 29. “You know how an assault weapon was designed? It was designed for a specific purpose—to kill a lot of human beings quickly. An assault weapon is a weapon of war with no place, no place in a civil society.” The nation, Harris said, was experiencing an “epidemic of hate,” and so on.
Biden’s vice president calls for a ban on “assault” weapons, which she failed to define. Harris doubtless had the AR-15 in mind but she does have experience with the AK-47 and other firearms.
Kamala Harris’ career began with lucrative sinecures courtesy of steady boyfriend Willie Brown, a powerful California Democrat 30 years her senior. The former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor backed Harris for district attorney and in 2003 Harris unseated Terence Hallinan.
On April 10, 2004, San Francisco police officers Isaac Espinoza and Barry Parker approached gang member David Hill, suspected of concealing a weapon. Hill pulled an AK-47, in gang parlance a “kayda,” from under his clothes and “sprayed at least 12 shots,” killing Espinoza and wounding Parker.
Prosecutor Harry Dorfman told the jury that Hill, “with his illegal, fully-loaded assault rifle, with his gang thinking and his gang mentality, chose to kill the police rather than stop for the police.” As that revealed, certain weapons may be illegal, but criminals will get them and use them to kill people, including police.
Under a California law passed in 1973, criminals who murder police officers are eligible for the death penalty. At a memorial service for Espinoza, Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “This is not only the definition of tragedy, it’s the special circumstance called for by the death penalty law.”
The San Francisco Police Officers Association wanted Harris to seek the death penalty for Hill, but the district attorney Harris declined and instead pursued a life sentence. Harris never spoke to Espinoza’s widow Renata about that decision, and according to Renata, Harris “never came over and said ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ Never. Nothing.”
In 2010, Harris was so lightly regarded that the reliably progressive Sacramento Bee endorsed Republican Steve Cooley. He was cruising to victory on election night but three weeks later ballot harvesting put Harris over the line by less than a percentage point. If anybody attributed the victory to ballot fraud it would be hard to blame them.
As attorney general, Harris targeted for-profit colleges, supported gun control, and looked the other way at government corruption. In 2014, California’s attorney general kept quiet when Mexican national Luis Bracamontes gunned down police officers Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in Sacramento.
In 2015, repeatedly deported Mexican felon Jose Inez Garcia Zarate shot and killed Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Attorney General Harris defended the city’s sanctuary policy and failed even to decry “gun violence” in the case.
That same year in San Bernardino, Islamic State supporters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 unarmed innocents and wounded 22 at an office holiday party. The “AR-15-style” weapons in the attack had been illegally procured by collaborator Enrique Marquez, who also purchased bomb-making materials for Farook and Malik.
A year later Harris issued a statement on the “devastating and tragic terrorist attack,” but failed to name a single victim or the Islamic terrorists who shot them dead. No word about any “epidemic of hatred,” and no attempt to blame “assault weapons” for the murders committed by terrorists. The Willie Brown protégé with the Easter Island stone face has always shown more kindness to violent criminals and terrorists than their innocent victims.
Now a heartbeat away from the presidency, Kamala Harris fails to understand that the Constitution was designed to protect the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. Harris has not made a case that restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens would enhance public safety and prevent mass shootings like those in Buffalo and Uvalde, where police forgot about their duty to protect innocent lives.
Meanwhile, fully automatic weapons, submachine guns and such, are already banned. As Stephen P. Halbrook explains, the semi-automatic AR-15 enjoys “common use” protections under the Second Amendment. Such firearms are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes” and “chosen by American society,” not the government.
Halbrook is the author of Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” and Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance. These carefully researched books show what happens, as the late P.J. O’Rourke put it, when those with all the power have all the guns.