Harris wants to ban imports of all AR-15-style assault weapons

NASHUA – Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said if elected, she would use executive action to ban imports of all AR-15-style assault weapons.

The U.S. senator from California formally announced this strategy during her Wednesday town hall-style meeting at Girls Inc. in Nashua.

“Assault weapons are designed to kill a lot of people in a very short period of time,” Harris said. “We can not any longer afford to allow people to make this a partisan issue.”

Harris said the Gun Control Act of 1968 allows the executive branch to prohibit the importation of guns not “suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”

According to Harris, as many as 20 million assault weapons are in circulation throughout the U.S., including about 4 million that have been imported by foreign companies.

While banning the AR-15, the proposal Harris outlines would also suspend imports of all other assault weapons until regulators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conduct an analysis of whether their importation should be permanently banned under existing law.

Harris also said she plans to take these executive actions against guns:

• Mandate near-universal background checks by requiring anyone who sells five or more guns per year to perform such checks on all gun sales;

• Revoke the licenses of gun manufacturers and dealers that break the law and take the most egregious offenders to court;

• Prevent someone classified as a “fugitive from justice” from buying a gun; and

• Close a so-called “boyfriend loophole” to prevent dating partners convicted of domestic violence from purchasing guns.

“This is not about taking everybody’s guns away. It’s about smart gun safety laws – period,” Harris told members of the press after her Wednesday Nashua event.