Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke is holding back no punches when it comes to his new push for gun control. Accordingly, the Texan — who recently had two mass shootings in his home state — had fighting words for The View co-host Meghan McCain. According to The Daily Beast, O’Rourke slammed the blond pundit for her views on buy-back policies, claiming that her words are almost giving people “permission to be violent.”
Earlier this week, conservative mainstay McCain had predicted that violence would follow any requirement for owners of AR-15 to relinquish their weapons. O’Rourke took issue with both both the claim and language used by McCain.
“I just I think that kind of language and rhetoric is not helpful,” the former congressman said to The Daily Beast.
“It becomes self-fulfilling; you have people on TV who are almost giving you permission to be violent and saying, ‘You know this is this is going to happen.'”
O’Rourke then expanded on his previous statement.
“When someone says, “If you do this, then this will happen,” O’Rourke said, “almost as though that’s a natural response or maybe even something that should happen or deserves to happen. When I think the response should be, ‘We’re doing nothing now and we’re seeing people slaughtered in their schools, at work, at a Walmart, in a synagogue, in a church, at a concert.'”
“There is violence right now and it is horrifying,” the presidential hopeful added. He made the comments to the news website shortly before attending a CNN town hall on environmental activism.
O’Rourke claimed that though he acknowledged that many would not be happy with a mandatory buy-back system, he believed that, at the end of the day, a vast majority of Americans would follow the law and surrender their weapons.
McCain replied to the former congressman’s remarks on Twitter this past afternoon.
Since the shooting in El Paso, in which 22 people were killed in a Walmart, O’Rourke has shifted the focus of his campaign onto gun control. It is a popular cause for many Americans, and 61 percent of the public support something to be done about gun violence in the country, per NPR.
In addition to the El Paso shootings, a man recently killed seven people in West Texas after being pulled over while driving.
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We weren’t supposed to be back in Odessa. Earlier in the day we’d visited the hospital and had a chance to be with survivors and their families. We’d then traveled to Midland to do the same in that community. Our flight was delayed, so we decided to grab a cup of coffee. We headed for a Starbucks back in Odessa. It was right across from UT Permian Basin. There’d been a service for the shooting victims the night before. I thought it’d be nice to pay our respects there too. We skipped the Starbucks and headed to the campus. Messages of hope and defiance were written in colorful chalk on the quad. As we were taking it in, a woman walked by and said “Beto!” It was Anavelee. She’d been in lockdown during the shooting and she wanted to tell me her story in person. Our schedules conflicted. It looked like it wasn’t going to work. But here she was. We sat down and I listened. “I was at work in the mall when I got the emergency text that there was an active shooter. I got chills.” She wondered if she’d see her mom or grandma again. She was preparing to die in a shooting that spared her life, but took seven others. I asked her how she felt now. “I feel angry. But I was already angry. From all of these mass shootings, from what happened at in Parkland, Florida. I was angry that high school kids were being killed at a time that I was in high school and no one was doing anything about it. I then learned about March for Our Lives.” She didn’t go to last night’s vigil, just doesn’t feel safe right now. Her birthday is coming up but she doesn’t plan to celebrate, it doesn’t feel right. But she wants to run for office some day. She wants our politics to work. What we’re doing now is clearly not working. When she was in the lockdown at work, with the shooter nearby, she tweeted: “If I die, politicize my death.” I told her what it’s been like since the shooting in El Paso, the way the community came together, the support that everyone showed for the families more than a month later. I told her how impressed I was by everyone I met today, how it should give us hope for the community’s ability to heal, for her ability to heal. I promised to stay in touch.
Though O’Rourke is likely passionate about the subject, it is also possible that he hopes it will revive his flailing campaign. Thanks to an intensely crowded Democratic field vying for the presidential nomination, the Texas native hovers just over 2 percent and lags behind newcomers Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg.