Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro opened up about his own experience with gun violence growing up speaking at the March for Our Lives Forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“I remember ducking behind the back seat of a car, because people were shooting at each other — in the ninth grade,” the former Housing and Urban Development secretary told moderator and MSNBC host Craig Melvin.
“We must educate people, not only about these horrific mass shootings but the gun violence that goes on day to day,” he continued.
“That’s what I saw in our neighborhoods when I was in high school San Antonio, we had more drive-by shootings than Austin, Dallas … combined,” Castro said. “You had these gang wars … infants that were being killed … the question is what do we do about that of course we need to make sure we are better controlling who is getting hands on guns in the first place.”
Castro’s Twitter account later tweeted about the his experience.
“I grew up in a neighborhood where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gun shots in the night,” the post said. “Gun violence prevention is not just about mass shootings, but also the epidemic of gun violence people experience every day.”
Gun violence has become a major issue in the Democratic primary amid a string a mass shootings in the U.S., including in El Paso, Texas.
Castro unveiled his plan to address gun violence in August.
Castro’s plan to “disarm hate” includes renewing an assault weapons ban and proposing tighter restrictions on guns than those currently before Congress.
He said he would sign executive orders on his first day as president “to end the gun violence epidemic” and to implement universal background checks.