Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is no fan of the Second Amendment. As California attorney general, she sided with local officials who refused to issue concealed carry permits to qualified, law-abiding applicants unless they could demonstrate an extraordinary need to carry a gun beyond concern for personal safety. More recently as a U.S. senator, Harris has co-sponsored legislation to ban firearms and magazines millions of Americans own to defend themselves and their loved ones, including the iconic AR-15.
Yet an investigation by NBC4 TV in Los Angeles indicated that Harris is much more open-minded about guns when it comes to her own security. According to the report, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) provided Sen. Harris with armed security not just while she was in the city, but on trips throughout California, all courtesy of the city’s taxpayers. A retired senior LAPD official characterized Harris’s security arrangement as “unprecedented” in its scope.
NBC4 TV reported, “Armed, plain-clothes LAPD officers were dispatched to California cities outside of Los Angeles at least a dozen times to provide security for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris at public events, media appearances, and a party.” It continued, “The total coast of the trips, not including the officers’ overtime, topped $28,000.”
Harris’s office did not deny the TV station’s findings but claimed the senator was merely deferring to “public safety experts on procedures, protocols and determinations,” without having requested any special favors. “[W]e are grateful for the ongoing work of officers in Los Angeles and across the state who risk their lives to keep all Californians safe,” a spokesperson added.
The report stated that the arrangement was in effect between January 2017 and July 2018. It coincidentally ended “around the time the Los Angeles Times filed a lawsuit that demanded Mayor Eric Garcetti turn over records detailing the taxpayer expense of his own security detail during his extensive out-of-state travels … .”
Mayor Garcetti insisted that former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was “solely responsible” for approving the arrangement and that he did not become aware that the LAPD was providing Sen. Harris with security outside of the city until the matter was brought to his attention by the LAPD’s new chief, Michel Moore.
Chief Moore was said to have discontinued the state-wide security detail after a “new assessment of the threat” Harris supposedly faced in California “determined that this arrangement was no longer needed.”
This is not the first time that Harris has been the subject of an embarrassing news story concerning the gun-carrying habits of those in her official orbit. During her tenure as California attorney general, one of her aides, Brandon Kiel, was arrested for impersonating a police officer.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Kiel was part of a trio that claimed law enforcement authority under the guise of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department (MFPD). Kiel and his cohorts insisted the MFPD had existed for more than 3,000 years, with membership tracing back to the Knights Templar. Its jurisdiction, they said, reached into 33 states and Mexico.
Authorities in California became suspicious, the Times stated, when the MFPD began contacting local police departments to announce their new leadership. This included a “courtesy call” to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to let the agency know the MFPD was “setting up shop in the area.” After meeting with the MFPD’s uniformed members for 45 minutes, an LASD captain ordered an investigation into their activities. The three were subsequently arrested, according to the Washington Post, “after the real police found ‘badges, identification cards, weapons, uniforms, police type vehicles and other law enforcement equipment’ during a search of two locations linked to the organization … .”
The charges against Harris’s aide were eventually dropped after the MFPD’s “chief” and “Grandmaster” died following a court appearance, and Kiel’s attorney asked the court to suppress the evidence against his client as the fruit of an illegal police search. Kiel’s attorney told the Los Angeles times that his client “was hopeful to move on and is now pursuing graduate studies.”
Kamala Harris has often been cited as a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Should she succeed, she’ll have the benefit of armed security subsidized by all American taxpayers, even as she works toward additional restrictions on the ability of Americans to protect themselves and their families.