2020 Candidates See Gun Violence As Public Health Issue

Posted: October 8, 2019

Youth ALIVE! at Vegas Forum:

Youth ALIVE!’s Gabriel Garcia and Jaymes Fitzpatrick at the 2020 Presidential Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas.

The 2020 Democratic candidates for President gathered in Las Vegas in early October to talk about gun safety in America, and Youth ALIVE! was there to listen. Advocacy Manager Gabriel Garcia and Teens on Target youth leader Jaymes Fitzpatrick traveled to Vegas to hear what the candidates had to say in the forum, sponsored by Giffords and March for Our Lives and broadcast on MSNBC.

All the top tier candidates were there, except for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who was ill. It was a small gathering, according to Gabriel, with no more than 300 in attendance. Survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting were in attendance, and much of the talk was about mass and school shootings, but Gabe and Jaymes were encouraged by what they heard.

“We need to treat gun violence like the public health emergency it is and respond with kind of strength it demands.” – Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

“I was pleasantly surprised by how many candidates were specific about bringing up everyday community violence in addition to mass shootings,” said Gabe.

Several of the candidates discussed the need for community responses to violence.

“We need to treat gun violence like the public health emergency it is,” said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, “and respond with kind of strength it demands.”

Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama Cabinet Member Julian Castro said, “We also need to invest in community development programs, community youth programs and violence prevention programs that are rooted in our communities.”

Gabe and Jaymes came away encouraged.

“Not everybody has this opportunity,” said Jaymes. “It felt good to hear candidates not just focus on mass shootings, but the roots of gun violence in urban areas too.”

Watch a video of the 2020 Gun Safety forum from Giffords Law Center.