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Kamala Harris tasked with new US gun reform push

September 23, 2023

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Kamala Harris took on a new anti-gun violence effort on Friday, a role that will likely bring her more visibility ahead of the 2024 election.

The 58-year-old Democrat will head up the new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which President Joe Biden said in a statement was part of his administration´s promise to “do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart.”

“We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe,” Harris said in the same statement. Despite the new push, the White House does not have unilateral power to meaningfully limit gun use in the United States, such as by banning assault weapons.

Any substantial moves would have to come from Congress, where fiercely anti-gun regulation Republicans control the House of Representatives. Biden has therefore tried to work around legislative requirements and imposed certain regulatory and administrative restrictions, which have only a limited scope. The new role adds a significant job to Harris´ portfolio just a little over a year ahead of the 2024 race, in which she and the 80-year-old president are facing re-election.