Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary turned 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro appears to be taking a play out of Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-CA) gun control playbook. Over the last few months, Harris has made it very clear that if elected president, she would give Congress 100 days to take up "common sense" gun legislation (translation: gun control). If they fail to act, she would use executive action to make her gun control agenda a reality.
During an interview on NBC News, Castro reiterated a similar position.
"If I were president right now I would do two things: first of all, I would maximize our executive authority to do what I can to keep our families safer from gun violence. For instance, we would immediately redefine who is a firearms dealer so that anyone who sells more than five firearms in a year is classified that way and has to conduct universal background checks," Castro said. "We would also push legislation in Congress to get common sense gun safety legislation done. [We would] put as much pressure as possible on swing state Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2020 to get them to go with something that we can compromise on, at least universal background checks. I think we can do more than that in the future."
According to Castro, politicians repeatedly promise to "do something" about mass shootings but there's always inaction.
"This promise that we're going to do something, that we're going to look at it but the never actually do it," he explained. "...The biggest lies that the president has told include that he would do something about universal background checks. He said that twice after Parkland and then after El Paso and Dayton and he's gone back on his word. Those are the biggest things that count for this president."
Castro argued that it's hunters and people who flock to the range "understand that you don't need weapons of war" like AR-15s.
He did, however, imply that those who fear a tyrannical government and cling to their guns are paranoid.
"I agree that there are a certain percentage that somehow fear that one day the government is gonna try and takeover the entire country somehow and they're going to need their weapons but that's actually a minority of people out there. That's not a majority of people," he said.
The American people, including those in my home state of Texas, are demanding Congress do something to address gun violence.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 1, 2019
It’s past time to act.pic.twitter.com/Q28axfN1bJ
People like Castro continually push the idea that universal background checks are needed to stop mass shootings but the reality is this: the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) isn't completely wholesome. Not all convictions are reported to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which oversees NICS. The Sutherland Springs shooter wasn't stopped because a conviction wasn't sent to NCIC. The Charleston shooter was allowed to get his hands on a firearm because of a paperwork error between a NICS worker and law enforcement.
Democrats continually push this idea of needing universal background checks, which would expand the NICS yet we don't have a wholesome system. Fix NICS was passed, which is a great first step. Additional convictions have been added but it's still not complete. People are still slipping through the cracks. Why would we expand a flawed system?