In Seattle, Sen. Kamala Harris touts gun control plans

SEATTLE -- Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris brought her bold plans for gun control to a receptive audience in Seattle.

Harris was in town for the gun control forum at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center and two fundraisers Friday.

"It's time to take action," she declared to applause.

A plan for action is exactly what audience members lined up to hear.

"I want to hear more specifically what she wants to do," Liz Thomas said.

Undecided Democrats like Thomas came to grade Harris on gun control. The crowd included notable, local gun control groups like Moms Demand Action Seattle, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and March For Our Lives Seattle.

As a high schooler, Emilia Allard helped found the local March For Our Lives chapter. With her blue organization sweatshirt on, she sat front row at the forum.

"Obviously, I talk a lot about what can we do in Washington, but hearing from someone who would be looking at more than just what we can do in Washington, broadening the scope, I'm interested to hear what she has to say," Allard said.

Harris explained that passion is behind her quest for more gun control.

"I have personally held more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you," she told the audience.

Part of her plan, as president, is to ban imported assault weapons.

"It is a weapon of war, which therefore has no place on the streets of a civil society," she said. "It's just that basic."

What's more complex is the scope of executive power to implement some gun control policies, like expanding background checks beyond federally-licensed dealers to include anyone who sells more than four guns in one year.

The National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates argue that some of the actions she wants to take are only up to Congress as lawmakers.

"Anyone who is going to say it is not time to take action and let Congress take its due course, well no," she told Q13 News. "People have been dying -- babies have been dying in our country -- while this Congress fails to act."

"So I will apologize to no one, both in terms of what I am prepared to do but also the action that I intend to take, to say if Congress doesn't act, I by executive action will act," she said.

It's a message some progressives in Washington want to hear.

"It's nice to have elected officials who prioritize this issue, right?" Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said of Harris.