Weekend Shootings Pour Gasoline On Gun Control Push Among 2020 Candidates

Weekend Shootings Pour Gasoline On Gun Control Push Among 2020 Candidates

The pair of some of America’s deadliest shootings that occurred this weekend has once again prompted Democratic presidential candidates to call for new gun control laws.

Twenty-nine people were killed between two shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, prompting candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination to ramp up their calls for new regulations to restrict gun ownership.

“How many lives must be cut short? How many communities must be torn apart? It’s past time we take action and end our gun violence epidemic,” former vice president Joe Biden wrote on Twitter.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders directly called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring gun control legislation passed in the House earlier this year up for a vote in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also called for gun legislation to be passed in light of the recent mass shootings.

“Gun violence happens at schools, at places of worship, at work, at malls, at movie theaters, at festivals, and at home. Gun violence can claim dozens of lives at once—and its daily toll claims dozens. We have a gun violence epidemic in this country. We need to act—now,” Warren wrote.

While candidates called on new gun laws to be passed, many also capitalized on a long, hate-filled white supremacist manifesto targeting immigrants and minorities written by the El Paso shooter just moments before carrying out what became the eighth deadliest shooting in American history. They blamed President Donald Trump, despite the fact that the shooter in Ohio was a raging leftist who supported Warren and was still upset about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Still, Warren’s Twitter feed is filled with rhetoric condemning Trump and white supremacy for the shooting, from her own account and from others that she retweeted.

“The hatred & racism being fueled by Trump & others leads to this type of violence,” wrote Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, in a tweet that Warren retweeted.

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke also blamed Trump for the El Paso massacre.

“President Trump has a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday,” O’Rourke said on “Face The Nation” Sunday. “Anybody who begins their campaign for the presidency by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals; anyone who, as president, describes asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border as an infestation or an invasion or animals; anyone who describes those who do not match the majority of this country as somehow inherently dangerous or defective; sows the kinds of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also chimed in to blame the shooting on Trump.

“Donald Trump is responsible for this,” Booker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry. He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks.”

Meanwhile Trump addressed the shootings as a mental health crisis in addition to condemning hate.

“Hate has no place in this country,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac of a New Jersey airport before boarding Air Force One. “This is also a mental illness problem…These are people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.”

Whether the reignited gun debate will stay inflamed among voters due to these shootings once the caucuses and primaries arrive in January is unlikely, but it is sure to be a hot topic at the next Democratic presidential debate slated for Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston, Texas, the home state of Saturday’s shooting.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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