‘The right to be safe is a civil right,’ VP Harris says at gun violence awareness event

Gun Rights

At an event commemorating the 10th annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Vice President Kamala Harris underscored the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail firearm deaths in the United States.

Almost 43,000 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. in 2023, the majority of them from suicides and homicides.

What You Need To Know

  • Friday is the 10th annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day
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  • Almost 43,000 people died from gun-related injuires in the U.S. in 2023, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management
  • Guns are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • “The right to be safe is a civil right, ” Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday

“The right to be safe is a civil right,” Harris said. “The people of our country have the right to live, work, worship and learn without fear of violence, including gun violence.”

Guns are the No. 1 cause of death for children in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Almost 25% of U.S. teachers said their school went into a gun-related lockdown in 2023, according to the Pew Research Center. About 20% of Americans have a family member who was killed because of gun violence.

“It does not have to be this way,” Harris said.

Saying she supports the Second Amendment and also supports an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and red flag laws, she added, “It is a false choice to suggest that you are either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

She pointed out that the Biden administration in 2022 passed the first major federal gun safety bill in almost 30 years. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act established enhanced background checks for firearms buyers under the age of 21 and federal criminal offenses for firearms purchased on behalf of another individual, among other safeguards.

Since taking office, the Biden administration has stopped almost 30,000 gun sales to convicted domestic abusers and invested $1 billion to hire mental health counselors in public schools across the country, she said.

“The fight that we are in to end the horror of gun violence presents one point that is clear about this November,” Harris said at an event where she also endorsed Angela Alsobrooks, D-Prince George’s County, for U.S. Senate. Alsbrooks is running against former two-term Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.

“Whereas President Biden and I stood up to the NRA and the gun lobby, Donald Trump bowed down after the horrors of El Paso and Dayton.”

In 2019, while Trump was in office, a shooter killed 23 people and wounded 22 others at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. That same year, a 24-year-old killed nine people and wounded 17 others at a grocery store in Dayton, Ohio.

Trump, Harris said, “failed to stand up to the gun lobby. He opposed reasonable gun safety reforms, and he cut funding to gun violence prevention.”

At this year’s National Rifle Association Annual convention, Trump said gun owner rights were under siege. The NRA endorsed former President Trump in May, citing his “unwavering support of the Second Amendment and his dedication to protecting the constitutional right of Americans to defend themselves and their families.”

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