Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro told state fairgoers in Des Moines Friday Congress must act in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. Before his speech, Castro released a policy plan to “disarm hate” by combating white supremacist violence and enacting gun control measures.
An audience member asked the former San Antonio mayor and Obama cabinet official why he’s not in El Paso, following a mass shooting there last weekend.
Speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox, Castro said El Paso doesn’t need more presidential candidates.
“What they really need is they need action, they need Congress, they need [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to get the Senate back in session and to pass common-sense gun safety legislation,” Castro said. “That’s what we can do for the people of El Paso, and the people of Dayton and everywhere else.”
He praised former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (who is also running for president) for staying in his hometown of El Paso after a gunman killed 22 people there in what’s being investigated as domestic terrorism. Police say the suspect told them he was targeting Mexicans.
Castro’s new policy proposal calls for “comprehensively identifying the threat of white supremacist terrorism” and “bridging racial divides.”
The proposal also seeks to reduce gun violence. Under this plan, Castro would take several executive actions including ending a background check loophole and denying gun sales to people with arrest warrants.
Castro also calls for universal background checks, requiring a license to buy firearms, and a permanent ban on so-called assault weapons, among other proposals.