By Lauren Rearick
During Thursday evening’s Democratic presidential primary debate, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke reaffirmed his call for stricter gun control laws.
When pressed about the possibility of enacting legislation that would force Americans to give semi-automatic weapons back to the government, O’Rourke, who is currently vying to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, had one response: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
O’Rourke’s proposed presidential policy follows an August 31 mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, that left seven dead and multiple others injured. After the shooting occurred, the former Texas representative appeared on CNN and called the continued gun violence occurring in America, “fucked up,” Politico reported. “The rhetoric that we’ve used — the thoughts and prayers that you just referred to — it has done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence to protect our kids, our families, our fellow Americans in public places — at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where 22 were killed; in Sutherland Springs, in a church,” he said.
As ABC reported, O’Rourke previously made similar comments regarding his stance on owning certain guns. “Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell their assault weapons. All of them,” he said in the past. He isn’t opposed to Americans owning guns altogether; the politician also owns antique guns he does not use.
Other Democratic presidential nominees have also called for a buyback program, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Cory Booker told MTV News that there should “absolutely” be a mandatory buyback program and Kamala Harris called it a “good idea.” However, every stance is not created equal: Candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders believe a buyback should be voluntary, Bloomberg noted.
As Booker pointed out to MTV News, the concept of gun buybacks isn’t new. “We did this with machine guns back in the 1980s. We decided to ban a certain type of weapon and we were able to get them off of our streets,” he said. “This is something that we're fully capable of. It's not a matter of ‘can we?’ It's: ‘Do we have the political will to get it done?’”