With the country reeling from recent mass shootings, presidential candidate Julián Castro called for aggressively combating white supremacy and toughening gun laws, including renewing an assault weapons ban, in a policy proposal released Friday.
Castro unveiled his policy plan on white supremacy and guns Friday, after 31 people died and dozens more were injured in a domestic terror attack in El Paso, Texas and a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that occurred within 24 hours of each other.
Describing it as a plan to “disarm hate”, Castro proposed much more aggressive restrictions on guns than those before Congress, including that he would sign executive orders on his first day in office “to end the gun violence epidemic.”
Referring to the shootings in El Paso, Texas, which authorities have deemed domestic terrorism because the shooter targeted Latinos, Castro said in a statement the attack that killed 22 people is not isolated.
“White nationalism is on the rise while military-grade firearms are more easily available than ever,” Castro stated.
Castro, the only Latino candidate in the 2020 presidential race, echoed fear expressed by other Latinos since the El Paso attack.
“My wife Erica, an educator, and I are raising a daughter and son who both have brown skin. We worry for them and their friends,” he said. “They should be able to grow up free from fear of hate and safe from gun violence.”
Castro called for “comprehensively identifying the threat of white supremacist terrorism” and combating it by focusing investigations and enforcement on “the most urgent threats”, while investing $100 million in a White House disarming hate initiative.
On guns, with first-day-in-office executive orders, Castro said he would end the firearm dealer licensing loophole so dealers would have to have licenses that would require they conduct background checks for all sales.
He would also sign an order directing the FBI to deny gun sales to anyone with a pending arrest warrant, reversing a change in rules by Presidents Donald Trump.
He called for universal background checks, a permanent assault weapons ban, requiring gun buyers pass a background check before they can own a gun and restrictions on ammunition.
“Our nation’s weak gun laws enable violent extremism,” Castro said.