Speaking to a crowd of over 10,000 supporters in Tucson, Arizona, on Friday evening, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed the issues of gun violence in America and immigration reform.
Though Sanders has a record of opposing some gun control legislation in the past, the Vermont Senator said he supports stronger background checks and an end to the easy availability of assault weapons, especially in light of the shootings of students in recent weeks:
“We are tired of condolences and we are tired of just prayers. We are tired and we are embarrassed in picking up the paper or turning on the TV and seeing children in elementary schools slaughtered and young people on college campuses shot. I think the vast majority of the American people want us to move forward in sensible ways that keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them and cut down on these senseless murders that we see every week.”
Sanders also linked the issue of gun control to the lack of adequate mental health services in the United States, saying:
“All over this country we have thousands of people who are suicidal, who are homicidal, but they cannot get the help they need when they need it. We need a revolution in mental health delivery in this country.”
Following a rousing endorsement from Hispanic Congressman Raul Grijalva, Sanders also remarked on the debate over immigration reform, taking a clear dig at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump:
“In the year 2015 it is not acceptable to be stooping to racism and demagoguery in order to win some political votes. It is not American to be defining a whole group of people who happen to come from Mexico and calling them criminals and rapists.”
Senator Sanders emphasized how important immigrants are to the economic future of America:
“Today’s undocumented workers play an extraordinarily important role in our economy. Without these workers it is likely that our agricultural system would collapse. Undocumented workers are doing the hardest work in this country, they’re harvesting our crops, building our homes, cooking our meals and caring for our kids. They are part of the fabric of this country.”
#FeeltheBern In Tucson
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.