Democratic presidential candidates on Saturday placed responsibility for inaction on gun violence in the hands of President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association, in the face of broad national support for some gun control measures.
The forum comes a week after a pair of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shook the nation and reignited a debate surrounding gun rights in America. Seventeen candidates were due to speak and answer questions from members of the gun control group Moms Demand Action in the crowd, some of whom teared up while describing the ways gun violence had affected their families.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in response to a question on how to avoid stigmatizing mental illness when the president has repeatedly highlighted that issue in response to mass shootings, called Trump a liar. Most people with a mental illness are not violent.
California Sen. Kamala Harris also put some of the blame on Trump's shoulders, saying that the president "didn't pull the trigger, but he's tweeting out the ammunition." A number of candidates have released gun control policies in the week since the shootings. On Saturday, the Democrats largely agreed on the broad contours of the policy debate, emphasizing the need to close background check loopholes, ban assault weapons and fund research into gun violence. Most of the candidates also called on campaign finance reform as a solution to combat the influence of the NRA on elections.
The real blame is on Dems.