Kamala Harris disqualifies herself by owning... a handgun?

Everyone running for president right now is a “nonstarter” for somebody if you ask enough people. One of the more interesting examples of this phenomena turned up at USA Today this week with an opinion piece from Peter Funt of Candid Camera fame. He has a bone to pick with California Senator Kamala Harris (D), who he claims has disqualified herself for the Democratic nomination because she owns a handgun. Here’s a short clipping from the “logic” behind this argument.

When it comes to gun ownership in America, presidential aspirant Kamala Harris has shot herself in the foot.

At a time when Democrats are toughening their positions on gun control and seeking to make it a core issue in the 2020 campaign, the California senator has conceded that her personal relationship with guns is unique among the major Democratic presidential contenders. She owns a handgun.

This under-publicized revelation comes as Harris is getting a lot of ink for being tough about guns. Her words are fine, but for a progressive like me, they are undermined by that handgun. And I can’t be the only one who is disturbed. Keeping a handgun for personal safety is a bedrock conservative view. The best defense against a “bad guy with a gun,” the NRA falsely argues, is “a good guy with a gun.”

Funt notes that while Harris was campaigning in Iowa (where even a good number of the Democrats are gun owners), she proudly stated that she owns a handgun “for probably the reason a lot of people do — for personal safety.” Of course, as soon as word of that quote leaked out to the press outside of Iowa, her aides were forced to “clarify” her comments by saying she had purchased it years ago and it was now “locked up.”

Are we surprised? No. Of course she had a handgun. She was a prosecutor for almost all of her professional career. The number of criminals would probably have liked to see her come to harm if the opportunity presented itself was no doubt large. Oddly, Funt himself concedes that she was justified in having a firearm but then claims that a real progressive would have “disposed of it” after leaving that job.

Funt then goes on at length to explain why owning a handgun is a bad idea and only reinforces conservative talking points. As such, Harris should not claim the mantle of representing liberals in the presidential election. This is truly a dizzying verbal assault.

In some ways, Funt is at least directing his anger in a more productive direction than many other Democrats. While they all focus on an “assault rifle” ban (which Funt also supports, by the way), the vast majority of gun crimes in the country are perpetrated using a handgun. Of course, the lion’s share of those are done with illegally owned firearms, but I’m sure Funt wouldn’t want the debate sidelined by facts.

This is what passes for logic among Democrats in 2019. It’s not just a problem with AR-15s. There are no good guns and people should be prevented from legally owning any of them. (No solution is offered for what to do about all the people who illegally own them so they can commit crimes.) And if a candidate for high office is discovered to legally own a firearm and safely carry or use it, they should be disqualified from running. Good luck with that message next November. But at least now we get to wait and watch to see if Kamala Harris ceremonially destroys her firearm.