After visiting the site of Monday’s mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., Vice President Kamala Harris called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban.
Harris previously planned to be in Chicago on Tuesday for the National Education Association annual meeting. She added a visit to Highland Park, about 25 miles north of Chicago, following Monday's massacre that left seven dead and dozens wounded.
She credited Congress for passing its first significant gun legislation in 30 years but said the bill does not go far enough.
“We have more to do,” she told educators on Tuesday. “And Congress needs to have the courage to act and renew the assault weapons ban.”
“Let’s talk about what an assault weapon is designed to do,” she added. “An assault weapon is designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly. There is no reason that we have weapons of war on the streets of America. We need reasonable gun safety laws.”
The United States had a 10-year assault weapons ban passed as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994. Congress did not renew the ban in 2004, allowing citizens to own these firearms.
While there are varying definitions of assault weapons, they generally include semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazine and pistol grip. These types of firearms were used in several recent mass shootings.
There has been significant GOP opposition to renewing an assault weapons ban.
While no federal assault weapons ban is on the books, Highland Park passed such an ordinance nearly a decade ago. The law was challenged to the Supreme Court, but justices rejected hearing the case.