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Post misrepresents Kamala Harris quote on gun safety laws

August 14, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris once said that if elected president, she would issue an executive order to send police to the homes of anyone who did not surrender their guns.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Social media posts circulating recently don’t accurately convey what Harris said. She said if elected president, she would wait 100 days for Congress to enact reasonable gun safety laws and if they failed to do so, she would take executive action. Harris clarified that her intention was not to confiscate legally owned guns.

THE FACTS: A viral post that first made the rounds in spring 2019 is recirculating again this week in the days since Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden chose Harris as his running mate.

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By Friday afternoon, the post had been viewed on Facebook more than 93,000 times in a 24-hour period. It claims Harris said during her presidential campaign that she wanted Americans to give up their guns, or if elected, she would take them forcibly.

“If elected & you don’t surrender your guns, I will sign an executive order & the police will show up at your door,” the post reads, with a line attributing the words to Harris.

The claim stems from a CNN town hall event in April 2019, when Harris was contending for the Democratic presidential nomination. At that event, Harris was asked about mass shootings and how she would keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

“Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the Courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris responded, according to a transcript of the event. “And if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action.”

Harris clarified in her response that if people “want to go hunting, that’s fine” but that she would advocate for new gun safety laws including requiring universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapons ban.

Harris also said she would put fugitives from justice on the list of people who should not be able to purchase any weapon, but she did not say she wanted to confiscate weapons or threaten citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

“There are people in Washington, D.C., supposed leaders, who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice which suggests you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away,” she said.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536