Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said America needs practical gun laws to prevent the murder of its children, in a powerful statement to MSNBC following the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I had to look at autopsy photographs,” Harris said on Thursday, referring to her time as California’s attorney general. “When you see the effect of this extreme violence on a human body, and especially the body of a child, maybe it will shock some people into understanding.”
At least 17 people were killed and 15 injured when suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an assault-style rifle at the South Florida high school on Wednesday afternoon. The attack is the 17th school shooting incident in 2018 alone.
“This cannot be a political issue,” she added. “We have to be practical. I support the Second Amendment but we have to have smart gun safety laws.”
“We cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered,” Harris said.
Several politicians have called for swift action in the wake of the school shooting. Former President Barack Obama tweeted on Thursday that he is “grieving with Parkland,” but “we are not powerless.”
“Caring for our kids is our first job,” he wrote. “And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”
President Donald Trump responded to the massacre on Thursday by suggesting that the South Florida community should have done more to prevent the attack.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem,” Trump wrote. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
A previous version of this story cited Everytown data that indicated the Parkland shooting was the 18th school shooting incident of 2018. Everytown later updated their count to exclude a suicide that occurred at a closed school, and their statistic in this story has been updated accordingly.