US Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday took on a new role in preventing gun violence, likely to give it even more visibility ahead of the 2024 election. The 58-year-old Democrat will oversee Joe Biden's new "Office for the Prevention of Gun Violence," a body with a coordinating role but no binding powers. "There is no freedom possible when one does not feel safe," Kamala Harris said in a statement.
"We can't waste another minute, we can't lose one more life" as the United States is "torn" by gun violence, she added during a speech at the White House. "After every killing, we hear a simple message, the same throughout the country ... Do something, please do something," the US president said.
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A significant decision
Joe Biden does not have the power to limit the number of guns in circulation, for example by banning assault rifles as he would like to do, because it is a prerogative of Congress. But the Republicans, fiercely opposed to any regulation, have de facto veto power. Joe Biden is therefore trying to circumvent the problem through administrative and regulatory initiatives, with limited scope. His decision to entrust the supervision of this new body to Kamala Harris remains significant, however, a little more than a year before the presidential election, in which the 80-year-old Democrat and the vice president are already candidates, on the same "ticket".
The vice-president has so far been in charge of politically complicated issues such as immigration. With the issue of firearms, this former California prosecutor sees her role expand in the campaign for the 2024 presidential election. The first woman to become vice president, and also the first representative to that position for both African Americans and Asian Americans, she recently embarked on a "defense of our freedoms" tour of several American universities. She was most often received with enthusiasm, contrasting with the low popularity credited to her by the polls.