‘I’ve seen assault weapons kill babies and police officers…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In her ongoing bid to recast herself as a “happy warrior” while trying to regain traction in the presidential primary polls, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pandered to college students Monday with expensive promises about college debt and gun control.
Harris took questions from the audience during a special college taping of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
Her first question came from a New York University student who said she was a first-generation college student of lower socioeconomic background.
NYU is ranked the 18th most expensive school in the country, with a tuition of around $50,000 that is estimated to be more than 70 percent costlier than the average four-year university. With room and board, it costs an estimated $70K per year.
“Student loans were kind of inevitable for me,” said the woman, “and with graduation right around the corner for me, I wanna know what you would do for students like me who are gonna graduate with massive amounts of student debt.”
Harris seemed to empathize with the student’s plight. While she stopped short of the promises made by socialist candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to forgive student loan debt, Harris omitted a crucial detail on the cost of her plan to taxpayers.
She called for “debt-free college” and “free community college” before adding, “I’m also prepared to make sure that we provide interest-free loans because nobody should be profiting of your desire to get an education.”
However, Harris neglected to mention that the only entity potentially profiting from it is the federal government after former President Barack Obama nationalized the student-loan industry in 2010.
That program is, in fact, already very costly. While the government has more than a trillion dollars tied up in loans, many students have begun to default on their payments after failing to attain marketable job skills in the far-left liberal-arts indoctrination centers.
The fixed interest rate on student loans currently sits at between 5 and 7 percent, which is roughly on par with the rate of inflation in many areas.
Harris took a second question from a Fordham University student regarding her gun-control policies. She reiterated a promise to use executive action to repeal Second Amendment rights through a ban on “assault weapons.”
“First of all, let’s be clear about what ‘assault weapons’ are,” she said, before offering an explanation that was anything but clear.
“They have been designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly,” she said. “They are weapons of war with no place on the streets of a civil society. I’ve seen assault weapons kill babies and police officers.”
Gun-rights advocates have long maintained that the vague and overly broad definition of ‘assault weapons’ could effectively be used to ban all semiautomatic weapons.
Some states, like Harris’s home state of California, have defined any semiautomatic weapon paired with a high-capacity magazine clip as an ‘assault weapon.’
Harris also was purposefully unclear on whether her attempt at banning firearms would involve restrictions on their manufacture and possession.
She said if elected she would give Congress 100 days to pass legislation.
“If they do not do it, I will put in place by executive action a comprehensive background check requirement, and a ban on the assault weapons and importation of assault weapons into our country,” she said.
Whether mandatory or not, Harris’s gun proposal also would be an expensive proposition for taxpayers.
A buyback program is a good idea, she said. “Now, we need to do it the right way, and part of that has to be, you know, buy back and give people their value—the financial value of what they have and not just take things from people that have value without compensating them.”
“Just compensation” is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment, lest Harris find herself in violation of a second inalienable provision enumerated by the Bill of Rights.
Harris low-balled the estimate on how many weapons her buyback would involve, claiming there were “over 2 million assault weapons that are currently in the streets of America.”
While the total number of “assault weapons” that Americans already own is not known and would depend on how they were defined, gun-rights groups like the NRA put the figure at between 8.5 and 15 million, according to a 2018 McClatchy article.
FBI data estimated that the number of background checks conducted in recent years was around 25 million, while AR-15 rifles alone account for roughly 15 percent of the rifles manufactured in the U.S.
That tally alone would put the yearly domestic manufacture of the popular semiautomatic rifle in the millions, excluding what may be produced outside the U.S.
Fair market value would be another slippery determination, but one online estimate put the total pricetag at $25 billion—or 90 percent of the Justice Department’s annual budget.
While safety drills have been a common part of the school experience, with many of the Cold War era bemusedly recalling the “duck and cover” technique, Harris seemed to imply that her plan could eliminate the need for such precautions.
She asked how many of the college students in the audience had been obliged to participate in active-shooter drills, which most had during their middle- and high-school days under the Obama administration.
“It terrorized you. It is traumatizing,” she told the students.
“I don’t want that any of our children should have to sit in class, when you should be paying attention to what’s happening in the front of the classroom, letting your mind open up the wonders of science, math or art or whatever, and instead have to be worried about who’s gonna come banging through the door carrying some kind of weapon,” she continued.