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Democratic presidential candidates hold gun safety town hall in Las Vegas

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Posted at 6:13 PM, Oct 02, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Silence marked the beginning of Wednesday's gun safety forum in Las Vegas, with Gov. Steve Sisolak remembering 1 October, a tragedy that led to state gun reforms.

"I knew I was going to start my first legislative session with the group in charge of the legislature who agreed we needed to act -- and act decisively,” he said.

But acting at the federal level remains to be seen.

The town hall featured many of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates presenting their measures aimed at preventing gun violence.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke on the issues of passing new gun laws and coupled it with combating white nationalism.

"We have got to recognize the warning signs and act on with the knowledge that not all terrorist threats come from abroad,” he said.

The mayor called the mix a "national security threat."

"If we want to be serious about national security, then we got to confront white nationalist violence as a national security threat that it is,” Buttigieg said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined her policies that included taking on the NRA directly, with the U.S. Attorney General investigating it's dealings.

"I want an attorney general that will enforce the law and protect the safety of the people of this country. I don't want an attorney general that plays politics,” she said.

Sen. Warren also made it clear she wanted a proactive Department of Justice to crack down on anyone skirting gun laws.

"When you've got a gun dealer that repeatedly breaks the law, then that gun dealer should lose his license and he should pay fines and may end up in jail,” she said.

During his turn, former Vice President Joe Biden was asked by former congresswomen Gabby Gifford’s on talking to children about gun violence, with Biden referencing his granddaughters.

"We talked about this. They talk about it. They tell me well, pop how can we do some of these things. Well first of all, you know what they're afraid of? They're afraid of showing up to school,” he said.

Biden called for gun licensing at the state level, wanting to incentivize individual states to take responsibility, contrasting from other candidates calling for federal licensing.

"The comparison is always made that you need a license to drive a car. You need a state license, there's no federal license to drive to drive a car. What we should be doing is first things first what Connecticut and California has done,” he said.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke was forceful in his push for gun control, with the El Paso massacre happening in his home district, still fresh on his mind

“When the second amendment was ratified, it took three minutes to reload a musket. Three minutes is all it took to kill 22 people in El Paso Texas,” he said.

O’Rourke called for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and red flag laws.

He acknowledged the right to bear arms but says there are limits.

"We all understand our constitutional rights and protected second amendment rights. We do not think those second amendment rights trump our right to live or our children to live without fear in this country,” he said.

Donald Trump's 2020 campaign sent out a statement, saying that because of the president's policies, “Our country is safer and more secure."