VP Harris tells the GOP to 'stop pushing the false choice' that 'everybody's trying to come after your guns' after series of mass shootings

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kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Kamala Harris told the GOP to stop suggesting that "everybody's trying to come after your guns."

  • "It has to be possible that people agree that these slaughters have to stop," she said.

  • GOP lawmakers have rejected calls to strengthen gun-control measures after two mass shootings.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Vice President Kamala Harris told Republican leaders on Wednesday to stop spreading the "false choice" that "everybody's trying to come after your guns."

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" two days after a mass shooting in a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people, Harris said that "it has to be possible that people agree that these slaughters have to stop."

"And this is, again, reject the false choice of - and stop pushing it for sure - stop pushing the false choice that this means everybody's trying to come after your guns," she continued. "That is not what we're talking about."

The Boulder massacre happened one week after shootings in three Atlanta-area massage businesses killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. It was also the sixth mass shooting within 40 miles of the King Soopers since 1999.

In the wake of the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, Democratic lawmakers and gun-control advocates have renewed calls for stricter regulations for purchasing firearms.

The House of Representatives recently passed two bills that would close loopholes in the background-check system and make gun transfers between people without licenses illegal. One of the measures was supported by eight House Republicans.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on the Senate to pass the two bills and emphasized the toll of gun violence on the US.

"While the flag was still flying half-staff" for the victims of the Georgia shootings, "another American city has been scarred by gun violence and resulting trauma," he said.

"We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again," he said. "I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again."

The US far outstrips any other country in gun ownership, with an estimated 393 million firearms - more than the country's population. Second in ownership rates is war-torn Yemen, a recent study found.

But Republicans, many of whom enjoy strong support from the National Rifle Association and the pro-gun lobby, have sharply pushed back on efforts to strengthen gun-control measures.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Tuesday that Democrats were engaging in "ridiculous theater" and using mass shootings to take people's guns away.

"Every time there's a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders," Cruz said. "What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that's their political objective."

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, meanwhile, compared gun violence to drunk driving and gun owners to Muslims.

"We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people. We ought to try to combat that too," he said at the hearing. "The answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers. The answer is to concentrate on the problem."

He continued: "When a Muslim jihadist blows up a school full of schoolchildren, we are often told not to condemn all of the actions of those of the Muslim faith because of the actions of a few. And I agree with that. So why doesn't the same rule apply to the 100 million-plus gun owners in America who are exercising their constitutional right?"

It wasn't the first time Kennedy made the comparison.

After a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017, killing 60 people and injuring more than 500 others, Kennedy told Time magazine: "When an Islamic terrorist blows up a school with kids in it, we are told not to judge all Muslims by the acts of a few. And I agree with that. So why do we want to judge all 80 million gun owners in America because of the acts of one perverted idiot? I don't know what else to call him."

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