NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke addressed the deadly Waffle House shooting while discussing gun violence during a stop in Nashville.
O’Rourke made his first visit to Tennessee on Sunday for a campaign rally at Marathon Music Works.
While in town, he discussed a variety of issues, including health care, climate change and immigration.
At one point, O’Rourke discussed his plan for ending gun violence in Tennessee and the U.S. and spoke directly with Shaundelle Brooks. Her son, Akilah Dasilva, was murdered in the Antioch Waffle House shooting.
Brooks asked O’Rourke what he would do to address the issue. He proposed universal background checks – with all loopholes closed – ending the sale of assault and military grade weapons and enforcing red flag laws, which allow a state court to temporarily remove firearms from someone who may be a danger to others or themselves.
Watch the full video below:
"I want to make sure I'm following your lead on this," O'Rourke said. "You talk about something that's happening here that's happening nowhere else on the planet today, and should force us to ask the question if we're inherently evil or violent as a people or is there something wrong with us, or is this a human cost problem? Is there a human solution to it. "
"And what I've learned from those such as yourself is that in those states that have adopted universal background checks, and have closed all the loopholes; the Charleston loophole that says after so many days if you've been unable to do a background check you can have the gun, no questions asked. The boyfriend loophole: if your significant other has been beating you, committing violence against you, but you do not have a legal relationship, it is immaterial to their ability to purchase a firearm. The gun show loophole, every way in which the gun lobby and manufacturers and the status quo perpetuate a violence that will claim 40,000 lives this year."
"We have to be stronger than that," O'Rouke continued, "less concerned about how this polls or our prospects for the next election, and make sure we think about your son and you and your commitment to saving the lives of others here in this community. So, not only would we sign universal background checks with all loopholes closed into law, we would, and this is a little bit more controversial especially in my home state of Texas and I can imagine in Tennessee, end the sale of assault weapons and military grade weapons which were designed specifically to kill people, and they're really good at that. They belong on the battlefield and should no longer appear on the streets, in our schools, in public life."
"Lastly, red flag laws, where someone is displaying a propensity towards hurting themselves or someone else, there's got to be a deliberate process that protects our rights but protects everyone else around them as well, and stops them before it's too late."
The former Texas congressman also visited the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and took part in a discussion about immigration with the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition.