Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that both the GOP and Democrats were to blame for the lack of action on gun legislation, accusing them of “indifference” on passing meaningful gun control legislation.
“The level of inaction and indifference, and we can’t just blame one political party for this,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said at a roundtable on gun control held in Des Moines, Iowa. “Democrats have had control of every level of power within recent history and did not avail themselves of it to address these issues.”
O’Rourke then stressed that the issue must overcome party divisions because it is something “that afflicts all of us in this country.”
The Texas native was in El Paso for 12 days, after the deadly mass shooting that left 22 people dead. O’Rourke has since then focused his campaign on confronting President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, which many have pointed out sparked the shooter’s anti-Hispanic sentiment.
CNN writes that O’Rourke is trying to force measures aimed at dealing with “white supremacy, racism and domestic terrorism,” saying that gun violence and hate speech are closely connected. He has likewise sought to create a nationwide gun licensing system and a national registry of all weapons purchased.
Both sides of Congress have been working with the White House to negotiate gun control measures, which President Trump announced in the wake of the two shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, despite him changing his mind.
Some Republicans have opposed his push for background checks, maintaining that those would not have stopped the two tragedies.
At the roundtable in Des Moines, O’Rourke highlighted law enforcement-based solutions for gun violence and also lessons he learned from the El Paso shooting.
“One of the lessons learned from El Paso, we are one of the safest cities in the United States of America, but nothing can exempt you or separate you from a very violent country that’ll find you sooner or later, and it found us,” O’Rourke said.