Harris Touts Gun Control Plan on CNN During Shooting

'Why not take executive action on Day One?' asks CNN anchor

As a shooting unfolded in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) spoke at length on CNN's Situation Room about her plan to restrict the sale of firearms.

Harris's comments came immediately after host Wolf Blitzer gave the latest on the shooting, where suspects shot six police officers in a Philadelphia neighborhood.

"The situation in Philadelphia comes only hours after Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris released a detailed plan to expand gun background checks, fight white supremacy, and disarm domestic terrorists," Blitzer said, before addressing Harris. "Very disturbing development, indeed. You're a former attorney general of California, what’s your reaction to these initial reports, and I stress the word, initial reports?"

"When will it stop, right?" Harris responded. "Part of my focus on what we need to do around smart gun safety laws is recognize that we have to have more enforcement around gun dealers. Wolf, 90 percent of the guns that are associated with crime are sold by just five percent of the gun dealers in the United States. And so, among the many plans that I have in the form of executive action and also in the form of legislation, one of them is to put more resources into the ATF to take the licenses of gun dealers who violate the law. And that includes a number of things, including when they are responsible for doing background checks, not doing them."

Blitzer pressed Harris on her plan, asking if it "went far enough" in restricting gun sales in the United States. Harris responded that, as president, she would be willing to take executive action on gun laws and would be open to instituting online background checks.

"I have hugged too many mothers of homicide victims over the years," she said.

She reiterated that, as president, she would give Congress 100 days to "act" on gun control, or she will sign executive orders. Blitzer asked why she would not simply sign executive orders immediately if she would have the authority to do that.

"Why not take executive action on Day One?" Blitzer asked.

"I believe in giving people a chance, especially when they know what's coming if they don't act," Harris answered.

"People are going to be killed in those first 100 days," Blitzer said.

"Well, there's no question we need to act immediately," Harris replied. "The failure of Congress to act over these decades is also a point that you should make."

At the time of publishing, Philadelphia police announced at least six officers are wounded and an active standoff is underway with the shooter. The police are in negotiations to get him to surrender.

CNN has taken past shootings as opportunities to call for stricter gun control laws. Days after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the network hosted a town hall where gun control activists booed those expressing opinions against gun control. The town hall later won an award for helping to "advance the national conversation on gun control and violence."

CNN held a similar town hall after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio, this August.