Sixteen Democratic presidential candidates spoke Saturday at a forum on gun safety in Iowa, organized by Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. The forum was organized after recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, in which 31 people total died.
"We all know that there is violence every single days with guns, guns that are bought illegally," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), one of the candidates said.
Candidates including Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro,, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and businessman Andrew Yang all spoke at the event. Warren demanded change in Washington.
"So for me, real change, meaningful change, starts with breaking up the corruption in Washington, breaking the stranglehold of the gun industry and the NRA," Warren said.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, talked about universal background checks and a seven-day waiting period to get a firearm.
"I believe that we also need to ensure that we raise a generation of young people that sees something other than violence as the answer," Castro said.
There were questions from the audience, as well as two moderators. Some of the people in the audience were victims of gun violence. Others had lost family members. One of the moderators questioning Biden lost her son.
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"The time will come when you remember, and you get a smile before a tear, and so that is what I am hoping for you sooner than later," the former vice president said.
Each candidate spoke for about 20 minutes. Buttigieg talked about generations marching and working together, to bring about change, which he hopes would make a difference.
"Because shame on us, God help us, if 20 years from now, there is a candidate forum with presidential candidates in the aftermath of mass shootings and the day-to-day beat of daily shootings, saying, 'OK, what are we going to do to make sure it is different this time?' Let's not let that happen," he said.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke was scheduled to be in Iowa this weekend, but stayed in El Paso, his hometown, after the mass shooting. He recorded a video, which was played in the ballroom, and called for universal background checks and other changes in the laws.