Politics

Biden Hits Harris Over Gun Control Executive Order

'You have no constitutional authority to issue that executive order'

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden / Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to criticize fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) for promising too many executive actions on gun control, saying anyone who did so would be "abusing power." He explained that the Democratic presidential nominee would need to be able to work with Republicans.

Biden did not call out Harris by name, but specifically criticized proposed executive orders to ban assault weapons, according to Politico.

"How you gonna get anything done without abusing power?" Biden asked.

"You have no constitutional authority to issue that executive order, the ones they’re talking about. ‘I’m going to eliminate assault weapons' — can't do it by executive order any more than Trump can do the things he's saying he can do by executive order," he continued.

He also said that candidates who don't think they can work with Republicans need to "cash it in, man."

Harris has made her promises to make executive action on gun violence a centerpiece of her campaign.

"Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress a hundred days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws," she said during an April CNN town hall. "If they fail to do it, then I will take executive action."

Harris listed a series of reforms, including renewing the assault weapons ban, expanding background checks, and introducing harsher punishments for gun manufacturers who violate the new laws.

In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Harris tweeted that she would take executive action to "ban imports of AR-15 style assault weapons," which have "no reason" to "exist on the streets of a civil society."

Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have also promised aggressive executive action on gun control, although they have not specifically endorsed using an executive order to ban assault weapons. Warren proposed using executive action to require background checks, raise the minimum age required to buy guns, and prosecute gun traffickers.

Booker has also proposed executive action on "closing dangerous loopholes in gun sales, cracking down on unscrupulous dealers and gun manufacturers, and investing in communities impacted by gun violence."