Julián Castro: Trump needs to step up on universal background checks


Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said Sunday he's tired of waiting for President Donald Trump to follow up on his talk about universal background checks during gun purchases.

"The biggest lies that the president has told include that he would do something about universal background checks," Castro said one day after a mass shooting in Texas, the second in Castro's home state in August. "He said that twice - after Parkland and then after El Paso and Dayton. He's gone back on his word. Those are the biggest things that count for this president."

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development advocated for "commonsense" gun safety legislation and universal background checks.

"If I were president right now, I would do two things," Castro told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press."

"First of all, I would maximize executive authority to do what we can to keep our families safer from gun violence. For instance, we would immediately redefine who is a firearms dealer so that anybody who sells more than five firearms in a year is classified that way and has to conduct universal background checks. We would also push legislation in Congress to get commonsense gun safety legislation done."

Castro also said that, despite worries from some that gun control could turn into gun confiscation, it's often hunters and individuals who frequent the gun range who best understand that they don't need automatic weapons and other "weapons of war."

"Sure, I agree that there are a certain percentage of people who somehow fear that one day the government is going to try and take over the country somehow and they're going need their weapons, but that's actually a minority of people out there," he said. "That's not a majority of people."

For his part, Trump said Sunday that he didn't see how Saturday's shootings changed much in ongoing efforts to stem gun violence.

"This really hasn't changed anything. We're doing a package," he said after arriving back at the White House.


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