Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned gun violence during his visit to Los Angeles on Thursday in response to a shooting at a Santa Clarita, California, high school.
Biden visited Los Angeles Trade Technical College in Downtown LA to discuss his major platforms for the upcoming 2020 elections.
Biden’s comments on gun violence came in response to a shooting at Saugus High School earlier Thursday morning, which left a 16-year-old and 14-year-old student dead and three others wounded, according to a CNN report. The shooter is currently in custody.
“The one generation that has the greatest sense of anxiety in America (is) children between the ages seven and 19,” Biden said. “Their greatest concern is they will be shot in school. … And it’s sickening.”
He added that if he were elected president, he would fight the National Rifle Association for increased gun regulation.
Biden also discussed his other presidential campaigning platforms, including his plans for education and immigration. He said he plans to increase funding for poor school districts and make community college tuition free.
Eliminating certain tax breaks often used by the wealthy would give the federal government enough funding to allow students to attend community college for free, said Biden, who served as vice president during the Obama administration.
Andra Hoffman, the president of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, also spoke at the event. Hoffman said Biden’s plan reflects that he is aware of the issues that community colleges face and added Biden would be a strong advocate for community college students.
Biden also said he plans to provide a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students and undocumented immigrants, and to provide financial relief to Central American countries that displace many refugees. The Supreme Court first heard arguments for DACA on Tuesday, in preparation for a decision on its legality in 2020.
Jamie Cabrera, a formerly undocumented student who spoke at the event, said navigating the college system is difficult for undocumented students because there are very limited resources and information. Cabrera added that Biden’s plan would help undocumented students through school.
The event drew attendance from students and citizens from around the LA area.
Emely Bonilla, a first-year biology student at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, said she thought Biden’s talk was convincing but added she was disappointed he didn’t outline any specific plans.
“He didn’t really address policies,” she said. “I liked that he talked about what he is passionate about. … But I wanted him to go more in depth.”
Maria de Jesus-Cruz, a cosmetology student at the LA Trade Technical College, said she thinks Biden’s plan to make community college free would help the Hispanic community and allow older Hispanic people to return to school.
Crystal Lewis, a retiree, said she thinks Biden’s response to the shooting is appropriate.
“We’ve lost too many people to gun violence,” Lewis said. “I liked his approach to hold people accountable.”
Although Biden is currently in California, he made news by deciding to skip the Democratic party nomination convention in Long Beach, prompting criticism from Rusty Hicks, a Democratic party chair member.
Biden is currently leading in the majority of national democratic presidential primary polls but is losing in the majority of California primary polls, according to FiveThirtyEight.
He added his experience as vice president makes him more prepared to take over as president compared to other Democratic candidates.
“The next president of the United States is not going to have any chance for on-the-job training. That person is going to inherit a world in disarray,” he said. “I think that I’m best prepared to deal with what needs to be done.”