DES MOINES, Iowa -- Vendors' t-shirts urged Iowans to "#FeeltheBern," but 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Socialist Independent U.S. Senator, returned to Iowa to support his former staffer's bid for Congress, not announce his future plans.
Sanders spoke to about 300 people on behalf of Pete D'Alessandro, a former staffer who is one of six Democrats running in Iowa's Third Congressional District primary.
The two men share some of the same main political beliefs: raise the current $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage to $15 and establish a Medicare-for-all health care plan to ensure universal, government-run health care.
Sanders addressed changes to gun laws, including making people pass a criminal background check before buying a gun at a gun show and also banning people from buying a gun if they are on the federal terrorist "no fly" list.
In a one-on-one interview following Sanders' speech, Sanders told Channel 13 why he thinks the public's mood will demand gun law changes following the massacre in Parkland, Florida, where authorities say a former student murdered 17 students and staff.
Several companies, including Enterprise, Hertz, and First National Bank of Iowa (which has branches in Iowa), are ending business partnerships with the National Rifle Association.
Watch Sanders' interview with Political Director Dave Price below.
D'Alessandro decried the gun violence during his remarks and at one point got interrupted by a person in the audience who questioned whether he would join the effort to change gun laws. The woman in the crowd shouted, "How about a ban on assault rifles?"
D'Alessandro responded, "I'm all for it. I'm all for it."
At one point, the candidate also referred to Sanders as "my hero" as he introduced him to the crowd.