CNN Town Hall Senator Kamala Harris 
Live from Iowa 
Moderated by Jake Tapper
Edward M. Pioroda/CNN
CNN Town Hall Senator Kamala Harris Live from Iowa Moderated by Jake Tapper
Now playing
01:35
Harris describes her 'harsh' gun violence solution
CNN
Now playing
01:35
Keisha Lance Bottoms: This decision was made from position of strength
Getty Images
Now playing
02:41
Lindsey Graham: GOP can't grow without Trump
A portion of this image has been obscured by the source.
Department of Justice
A portion of this image has been obscured by the source.
Now playing
02:09
Lawyers say alleged Capitol rioter is suffering from 'Foxitus'
Now playing
03:28
Wyoming voters weigh in on Liz Cheney's political future
Ktyrsten Sinema/Mark kelly split
Getty Images
Ktyrsten Sinema/Mark kelly split
Now playing
03:26
Biden's top priorities depend on support from these two senators
Getty/CNN
Now playing
01:57
'Do you know how crazy this is?': Tapper on Arizona election 'audit'
Caitlyn Jenner attends the 28th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 9, 2020 in West hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael Tran/AFP/Getty Images
Caitlyn Jenner attends the 28th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 9, 2020 in West hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:41
Caitlyn Jenner says friends are fleeing California because of homeless people
Anthony Blinken BBC intv
BBC
Anthony Blinken BBC intv
Now playing
03:27
Blinken: US will respond if Russia acts recklessly against Ukraine
02 Gen. David Petraeus lead 05062021
CNN
02 Gen. David Petraeus lead 05062021
Now playing
02:14
Gen. Petraeus on why US may regret pulling troops from Afghanistan
The Ohio Channel
Now playing
01:00
State senator attends Zoom meeting while driving his car
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis holds up the voting bill after signing it on Fox News live. The cable news network was the only press outlet granted access to the signing.
Fox News
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis holds up the voting bill after signing it on Fox News live. The cable news network was the only press outlet granted access to the signing.
Now playing
03:42
Florida governor goes on Fox News to sign controversial law
pool
Now playing
01:28
'Pay your fair share': Biden pitches raising taxes on wealthy
Now playing
03:46
Berman: McCarthy sides with these Republicans but not Liz Cheney?
CNN
Now playing
04:22
'Power and money over ethics': Avlon fires off on GOP
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with the House Republican Conference on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with the House Republican Conference on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
Now playing
02:55
Hear McCarthy on a hot mic revealing what he thinks of Cheney
(CNN) —  

Sen. Kamala Harris, whose stump speech includes impassioned calls for banning assault weapons and universal background checks, put it very simply: Yes, she owns a firearm.

“I am a gun owner, and I own a gun for probably the reason a lot of people do – for personal safety,” the California Democrat said Thursday. “I was a career prosecutor.”

The weight of that phrase was a reminder of the personal risk Harris has faced in her career in law enforcement, from being an Alameda County criminal prosecutor, San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general.

A Harris campaign aide said the weapon she owns is a handgun, which she keeps locked up, as a responsible gun owner. According to the aide, the handgun was purchased years ago.

Harris made the comment to reporters shortly after meeting supporters at a house party in Des Moines, Iowa. In the crowd were members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, the grassroots movement that’s part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun control advocacy group in the country. Harris thanked the Moms Demand Action members and again called for an assault weapons ban and “smart gun safety laws.”

“We are being offered a false choice,” Harris said to reporters, after talking about her own gun ownership. “You’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away. It’s a false choice that is born out of a lack of courage from leaders who must recognize and agree that there are some practical solutions to what is a clear problem in our country.”

Many times on the campaign trail, Harris has talked about her disgust at the lack of action in Congress after school shootings, from the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, to the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. At her January CNN town hall, shortly after declaring her candidacy, Harris said Congress would have acted after 20 children and six adults were murdered at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School if lawmakers had been placed in a locked room without press and required to examine “the autopsy photographs of those babies.”

Shortly after Harris’ town hall, the National Rifle Association attacked Harris in a release, calling it “overwrought rhetoric.”

Her passionate calls during her campaign events for congressional action on guns often bring about the most sustained applause from the audience. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in September and October 2018 shows nearly six in ten US adults say gun laws should be more strict.

An earlier survey conducted by Pew found 30% of those asked say they personally own a gun. And protection tops the reason why gun owners have one.

“Part of the practical solution is to agree that we need smart gun safety laws,” Harris said to reporters. “Period.”