Gun Reform Advocacy Takes Center Stage at the Iowa State Fair

Democratic Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson
August 9, 2019

With Congress out of session for August recess, 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are bringing the gun debate to 165th annual Iowa State Fair.

Over the next week, nearly all of the candidates will show up with their soapboxes to deliver their messages for America. Those who have already done so have come touting gun reform, and with some going as far as calling President Trump the reason for bloodshed.

Marianne Williamson, who has gained a notable following after her debate performances in Miami and Detroit, told Cheddar she has been having this conversation, "talking about collectivized hatred, talking about this scourge of white nationalism."

But Williamson says the gun debate does not just end with policies like universal background checks or assault weapons bans.

"Are we going to do what we always do, but then add to that, that we actually get somewhere legislatively, but even then, not even have the deeper conversation about why are we so violent a society?," Williamson told Cheddar. "And what has happened in America that white nationalism has been able to take root here?"

Throughout the week, Democrats have pounced on Trump's rhetoric, from the "send them back" tweets directed at four freshman congresswoman of color, to his portrayal of immigrants as invasive.

Speaking to reporters at the state fair, former vice president and 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden said, "Everything the president says encourages white supremacy, and I'm not sure there is much of a distinction," when asked if Trump is a white supremacist, but did not go so far as to call the president one.

But, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is also among the top polling candidates, did explicitly call Trump a white supremacist.

Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney told Cheddar at the fair that Iowa voters want to hear solutions to fix the gun crisis.

"[Voters] want to hear that I'll fight every day to make a difference on this issue. That I'm committed to getting something done now. Which I am," Delaney said, adding his support for universal background checks, limitations on military-style weapons, and the need for red flag laws.

Nevertheless, the former Congressman does not believe the politicos in D.C. are ready for the change: "All the facts are against the optimist on this."

Back in Washington, Trump told reporters Friday that he, however, is optimistic about gun reform proposals the Senate may consider, specifically background checks.

"I have already spoken to [the NRA] on numerous occasions, numerous occasions and frankly we need intelligent background checks," Trump said.