Former Attorney General Eric Holder took a fairly hard line for gun control when he spoke to a large crowd at the Democratic National Convention’s Black Caucus on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
“The American people spoke after Newtown, which was the worst day in my time as attorney general,” said Holder. “I went to that school and saw the carnage there. These were first-graders. I saw the blood. I saw the carpet messed up where the bullets had gone through. They cried. I cried. And if the American people had seen that we would have had gun safety legislation.”
His speech came days after a shooting at a club in Fort Myers, Florida, and weeks after shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas.
“But from my perspective, any candidate that is not for gun regulations, I’m not sure that person gets my vote,” said Holder.
Kelly Jacobs, a Hillary Clinton-pledged delegate representing northeastern Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, feels strongly about gun control.
“The gun control issue is a tremendous voter motivator,” said Jacobs. “Some people, that’s all their voting on. ‘You’re going to take my guns.’ And they have said that the last 10 Democratic candidates for president were going to take away their guns. And yet they still have them.”
Earlier in the week, Bernie Sanders superdelegate Keelan Sanders touched on the subject of gun control before heading to the convention center.
“We all have the right to bear (arms),” said Keelan Sanders. “But there are certain reasons that we should put limits on people who have it (guns). Assault rifles? Who needs a gun that can shoot a 100 times in a minute?”
The 2016 Democratic Party platform states it “will expand and strengthen background checks … and keep weapons of war — such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines – off our streets.”
With Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president, she is expected to address this topic.
Holder and Jacobs go even further than the platform’s stance on gun control and violence.
“The guns really, I just think they have to go,” said Jacobs. “I think that the Second Amendment is about having a militia to protect our nation and not to have a militia to have a gunfight. I shouldn’t have to worry about that.”
“And when you think about that impact those guns have had in our community, the fact that too many people have access to guns they should not have had access to,” said Holder. “Think about the carnage that happened in this nation generally and in the African American community in particular. That for me is a defining issue.”
In addition to the Hispanic Caucus, Small Business Owners Council and Veterans and Military Families Council, a Youth Council meeting was among the programs Wednesday.
Chris Abruzzo, a student at Temple University, is covering the Democratic National Convention for the Sun Herald.