Transcript for 2020 presidential candidates speak out at gun control forum in Iowa
investigations. Gun control is a hot topic on the campaign trail in the wake of those massacres in el Paso and Dayton. The candidates facing the issue head-on. ABC congressional correspondent Mary Bruce is in Iowa with more. Reporter: Good morning, Eva. This fair is a campaign rite of passage. A fun chance for the candidates to connect with voters. But this year, we're seeing a very different tone. The candidates eager to keep up this conversation. Making their pitches on how they plan to tackle rising gun violence. At the Iowa state fair, the democratic candidates taking their case directly to voters. All right, I'm hot and sweaty but I'm answer to questions. Reporter: Taking in the sites. I just want a pork chop on a stick. You're going to get one. Reporter: And working the crowd. We got this. Reporter: But front and center the debate over gun reform. We need reasonable gun safety laws in our country including universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapons ban. Reporter: The candidates eager to keep up the pressure, pitching their plans to tackle gun violence. We are going to make change, we are going to pass gun safety laws in this country. Reporter: The emotions of this debate pouring over. I have a 6-year-old and 3-year-old boys and imagine -- I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it. I'm so sorry. Reporter: Back in Washington, the president is pushing for stricter background checks. Do you believe the president when he says he wants to see some kind of meaningful reforms? I find that fascinating he's going to check with the NRA. Reporter: Do you get a sense this time around things are different? Democracy is starting to show a little muscle out there and I think Mitch Mcconnell is just getting a little bit worried. My view, he ought to be a lot worried. Reporter: Now, voters we talked to here at the fair say it's time, they do want to see change on this issue. The challenge for these candidates is going to be keeping this conversation front and center, keeping up the pressure because, of course, congress isn't back in session for another month. Mary, our thanks to you. Let's bring in our chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos, hosting "This week" later this morning. This was important week for the campaign. I believe. We saw the Democrats intensify their attacks on president trump. But we also saw a split. Some who held him accountable for the shooting in El Paso because of the president's comments on undocumented immigrants and Mexicans and who called him a white supremacist. And others didn't want to go that far. They want president trump to be called out. I think the risk for the democratic candidates is, how do you call -- the question for the candidates, how do you call out president trump without appearing calling all of his supporters racist and white sue supremacist -- Speaking of the president, he said he want meaningful background checks. He also said he was going to have senator Mitch Mcconnell on board, he made a point to say the NRA would be represented and respected. Is there any reason we should believe that he's committed to this issue? The president is going to have to choose. I think there's no question about that, as you point out. After past shootings he's come out for background checks and then backed away from it. Most notably after parkland. It's a fantasy to believe that the NRA is going to sign on to background checks. The if the will have to choose, he LE have to be for background checks, American voters who say they're for them as well and cut the NRA loose. If he sticks with the NRA we're not going to get background checks. George has a big show this morning. He'll go one-on-one with Cory booker, as 2020 candidate campaigns in Iowa, and he'll also have the latest analysis on Jeffrey Epstein's suicide.
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