The U.S. was hit with two mass shootings within two days this weekend. In Dayton, Ohio, at least nine were killed and 27 injured on early Sunday, when a gunman—who has been identified as a 24-year-old white man, Connor Betts—opened fire in a popular nightclub district; just a day before, in El Paso, Texas, at least 20 were killed and 26 injured after a gunman opened fire inside of a Walmart. The gunman was a 21-year-old white man, Patrick Crusius, and the shooting is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.
More than ever, these horrific displays of violence and white nationalism call for stricter gun laws in the U.S. Instead of acknowledging the country’s domestic terrorism epidemic, however, President Donald Trump tweeted his “thoughts and prayers” for the people of Texas; other Republicans joined in on the boilerplate condolences, such as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wrote, “my prayers go out to the victims of this terrible violence, their families and friends, and the brave first responders who charged into harm’s way.” Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted, “We mourn with those who lost loved ones in El Paso and Dayton & are praying for the injured and the families. There is no place in America for acts of violence, hatred and racism. We condemn these evil acts & stand with the people of Texas and Ohio.”
While politicians have condemned these shootings, little action has been taken under Trump’s leadership to reform gun control. (In 2019, there have now been 251 mass shootings—that’s more shootings than there have been days this year.) In reaction to this weekend’s events, many Democratic candidates running in the 2020 election acknowledged America’s enduring problem with gun violence, using their platforms to make a call for change. (For a full recap on what the Democratic candidates plan to do about it, click here).
Many of the candidates agreed that the country needs to ban assault-style rifles, as well as implement stricter vetting processes when selling firearms. Many candidates also took aim at Trump’s seemingly passive response to such deadly mass shootings: “Instead of wasting money putting children in cages, we must seriously address the scourge of violent bigotry and domestic terrorism,” wrote Bernie Sanders yesterday, referencing the migrant children who are currently being held at the border. Elizabeth Warren also tweeted, “We need to call out white nationalism for what it is—domestic terrorism... And we need to call out the president himself for advancing racism and white supremacy.”
Below, see how all the Democratic candidates responded.
Originally Appeared on Vogue