Harris urges Congress to act on gun control legislation for lasting impact – CBS News interview

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has not ruled out taking executive action to tackle gun violence, but Congress should pass gun control legislation for a more lasting impact, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Wednesday.

Harris, in an interview on CBS News' "CBS This Morning" program, said Biden was prepared to sign two recent gun-related bills passed by the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives and urged the narrowly-divided Senate to pass them as well.

"There is the piece about executive action but if we pass legislation then it is permanent, if the Congress passes it then it becomes law and that is what we have lacked and that is what has been missing," she said.

She also said the U.S. needs universal background checks and a federal standard for them.

On Tuesday, Biden urged Congress to swiftly pass gun control laws and said he may take action on his own to stop mass violence.

On Monday, a gunman killed 10 in a Colorado supermarket, just six days after eight people were shot and killed at Atlanta-area day spas. The two shootings put renewed pressure on Biden to act on his promise.

Biden, who took office in January, pledged during his presidential campaign to enact gun safety measures, but has devoted the first months to distributing coronavirus stimulus and vaccines.

The United States has the world's highest rate of civilian gun ownership, according to RAND Corp research and there were more than 43,000 U.S. gun deaths last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Nandita Bose and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Chizu Nomiyama)

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