Debates 2020

'Police Violence Is Also Gun Violence' Says Julian Castro, Arguing Against Mandatory Gun Buybacks

The former HUD Secretary is still terrible on guns, but at least he recognizes some of the costs of actually enforcing gun laws.


Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro offered some powerful pushback to other Democrats' plans to implement a mandatory gun buyback program for assault weapons at tonight's debate, emphasizing the police power that would be required to make that a reality.

"Police violence is also gun violence," noted Castro, referencing the tragic case of Atatiana Jefferson, a Fort Worth, Texas woman who was fatally shot through the window of her own home by a police officer. The officer has since been charged with murder.

Earlier in the night, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D–Texas) equivocated when asked how he would enforce his mandatory gun buyback proposal while also sticking to his promise that he would not have the police go door-to-door.

Castro, to his credit, pointed out that this is impossible, and that any confiscation efforts would fall hardest on those people who already bear the brunt of police enforcement of so many other laws. "I am not going to give these police officers an excuse to go door to door in these communities," said Castro.

To be sure, Castro is still terrible on gun policy. His gun control plan includes federal gun licenses, universal background checks, and more licensing requirements for gun sellers.

It's nevertheless refreshing to hear some acknowledgment of the fact that police violence doesn't just disappear when cops are enforcing the "good" laws.