The AR-15 is the highest-selling assault rifle within the U.S., regardless of the calls for it to be banned.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris introduced Wednesday she would take government action to ban the importation of AR-15-fashion weapons into the U.S. if she’s elected president.

Harris, a California senator, made the pledge throughout a campaign occasion in Nashua, N.H., the place she detailed how she’d use government order to pause imports of the firearm till the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can analyze whether or not the ban ought to be permanent.

“Once we take a look at the difficulty of assault weapons, let’s be really clear,” Harris stated. “Assault weapons are designed to kill lots of people in a really brief time period. Let us take a look at the details: 1 in four cops killed within the line of obligation by gunfire is killed by an assault weapon.”

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is greeted by supporters following a town hall type meeting at Women, Inc., in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Wednesday. (Photograph: CJ GUNTHER, EPA-EFE)

There are roughly 15 to 20 million “modern sporting rifles,” which typically refers to semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, in the United States according to a 2015 estimate from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. About 4 million of those firearms have been imported. The organization’s estimate also includes weapons produced for law enforcement.

There is some precedent for curbing assault-style weapons. In 1989, following a school shooting that left five people dead, President George H.W. Bush announced a permanent ban on 43 types of semi-automatic assault rifles that failed to pass the so-called “sporting purpose” test.

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Congress passed a 10-year ban on the manufacture for civilian use of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The ban, which expired in 2004, was among the reasons Clinton later said he believe Democrats faced a historic thumping in the 1994 midterm elections. Clinton also used executive action in 1998 to ban an additional 58 assault weapons following an updated ATF review.


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“We cannot any longer afford to allow people to make this a partisan issue,” Harris said. “President Bush knew that and President Clinton knew that. Both of them used executive action for similar reasons, so let’s speak truth on this issue.”

Shifting demographics have made advocating for tougher gun laws less of a risky notion for Democratic contenders. Generation Z voters, ages 18 to 23 for next year’s voting, will make up one of 10 eligible voters. Young Americans, ages 18 to 29, broadly support Congress passing stricter gun regulations, according to an April 2018 NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll. 

Sen. Cory Booker, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, has made tightening gun laws a central…