Buttigieg says US has produced 'second school shooting generation'

Buttigieg says US has produced 'second school shooting generation'
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria O'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter MORE expressed frustration Tuesday at Congress’s inability to pass legislation to stem gun violence.

Buttigieg said the United States has now “produced the second school shooting generation in this country.”

“We’re supposed to be dealing with this so you don’t have to,” Buttigieg said Tuesday evening at the second Democratic debate in Detroit. “High school is hard enough without worrying that you’re going to get shot.” 

Buttigieg, who is mayor of South Bend, Ind., said he was in high school at the time of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and that the current conversation about gun violence is the "exact same conversation” the country was having at that time.

“We have now produced the second school shooting generation in this country,” Buttigieg said. “We dare not allow there to be a third.” 

“This a conversation we have been having for the last 20 years,” Buttigieg said later. 

All candidates on stage Tuesday evening expressed outrage at the lack of progress on gun control.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren O'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter MORE (D-Minn.) responded to Buttigieg by suggesting the problem isn’t Washington as a whole but the National Rifle Association's (NRA) aggressive lobbying against reforms including universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.

Klobuchar said that gun control legislation is now “sitting on [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria McConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference MORE’s [R-Ky.] doorstep” because of the NRA’s opposition to it, and said that she as president “will not fold” in the face of pressure from the NRA. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on difference with Warren: she's a capitalist 'I'm not' Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren MORE (I-Vt.) also took issue with the NRA and said he would have the “guts” to stand up to the organization. 

The candidates were asked Tuesday evening to explain how they would tackle the issue of gun violence in the wake of shootings in Brooklyn, Philadelphia and California.