As Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the prevalence of gun violence, prominent Republicans are doubling-down on their support for the second amendment, emphasizing the party-line divide on the issue of guns after 163 mass shootings so far this year.
“Gun violence is now the number-one cause for death of children in our nation. And a heartbreaking one in five Americans has lost a family member to gun violence,” Vice President Harris said at the National Action Network’s convention in New York on Friday. She spoke in the wake of a number of recent mass shootings, including in Nashville and Louisville. Harris spoke before another shooting in Louisville, which occurred on Saturday at a park, that left two dead and four injured. Tragically, on Saturday night, there was yet another mass shooting—but this time in Dadeville, Alabama—at a 16-year-old’s birthday party that has so far left four dead and multiple injured.
The vice president continued, “We speak here while the NRA is holding its convention in Indiana. Now, you know what they’ve called it? They have called it: ‘freedom-filled weekend.’ So, we must ask: “Freedom-filled” for who, exactly? Because it’s not for parents who pray that their children will come home from school safe from a classroom in Uvalde or Nashville. Not for those who pray that their loved ones will come home safe from a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, from a grocery store in Buffalo, or from everyday gun violence in communities across our nation. Let us all declare: Enough is enough.”
“The solutions — because there’s clearly a problem — the solutions are clear. We must have reasonable gun safety laws at the state and the federal level,” Vice President Harris said.
At the same time, former president Donald Trump appeared at the NRA convention in Indianapolis on Friday, and boasted: “I was proud to be the most pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment president you’ve ever had in the White House.”
“It is a scandal and a tragedy that year after year, Democrats in Washington continue to hold commonsense school safety measures hostage to their radical gun control agenda, which, in virtually all cases, would do nothing to prevent attacks by demented and disturbed individuals,” Trump said.
“This is not a gun problem,” he added, almost directly contradicting the vice president’s words. “This is a mental health problem, this is a social problem, this is a cultural problem, this is a spiritual problem.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence also spoke at the convention, agreeing with Trump about the last administration’s stance on guns: “We stood without apology for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” He added, “As long as there is breath in my lungs, I will stand with you to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
At the same NRA convention on Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem admitted that her almost-two-year-old grandchild, Addie, has not one gun, but multiple. “Now Addie, who you know – soon will need them, I wanna reassure you, she already has a shotgun and she already has a rifle and she’s got a little pony named Sparkles, too. So the girl is set up,” said Noem. “South Dakota is setting the standard for the most Second Amendment-friendly state in the nation,” she added.