Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro outlined what he would do about gun control if elected president, in the wake of a shooting rampage that killed seven people in his home state of Texas over the weekend.
Castro, among the ten Democrats who qualified for the third debate on Sept. 12, said Sunday he would make the most of his presidential powers and influence to pass new restrictions on firearms.
“First of all, I would maximize executive authority to do what we can to keep our families safer from gun violence,” Castro told NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” specifically saying he would require people who regularly sell guns be classified as firearms dealers.
“Anybody who sells more than five firearms in a year is classified that way and has to conduct universal background checks,” he said.
Castro then discussed what he believed were basic measures that he hoped Congress could pass if he helped pressure Republicans to compromise.
“We would also push legislation in Congress to get common-sense gun safety legislation done, and, you know, put as much pressure on these swing-state Republican senators who are up for reelection in 2020, to get them to go with something that we can compromise on, at least universal background checks,” he said. “I think we can do more in the future.”
Castro also called out President Trump, saying the “biggest lies” Trump told during his presidency have been his promises of pushing for universal background checks after shootings in Parkland, Fla.; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio.
The presidential hopeful claimed that in light of several recent mass shootings, Americans have wanted Congress to take action.
“More and more people here in Texas and across the country want Congress and their politicians to do something,” he said. At the very least, Castro suggested, “we need to get universal background checks done, a renewed assault weapons ban, and limiting the capacity of these magazines.”
Many Republicans also said they hoped to take action to curb gun violence. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said his party has been interested in “common sense solutions to prevent this from happening in the future while at the same time protecting due process for anyone who is a law-abiding citizen.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that state officials including Gov. Greg Abbott got together as part of a domestic terrorism task force to address the issue. Paxton said he would like Congress do the same to try determining “what kind of practices would change this from happening or at least allow us to respond more quickly.”
President Trump tweeted Sunday morning, “Great job by Texas Law Enforcement and First Responders in handling the terrible shooting tragedy yesterday. Thank you also to the FBI, @GregAbbott_TX and all others. A very tough and sad situation!”
Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.