Pundits predicted a fiery third Democratic primary debate and that's exactly what happened within the first hour, with all 10 candidates vying for a chance to move up in the polls.
While the debate moderators questioned the candidates on the hot topic of gun violence, former Texas lawmaker Beto O'Rourke drew a loud round of applause when he confirmed he would confiscate assault rifles.
According to Raw Story, he told the harrowing tale of what he personally witnessed in the wake of the deadly mass shooting that took place in El Paso, Texas, which was part of the district he represented while serving in the U.S. Congress.
"I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke proclaimed.
"We're not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore."O'Rourke went on to explain that not long after the mass shooting, he visited a gun show in Conway, Arkansas, to speak with people who were both selling and buying AR-15 rifles. He explained that he found common ground with some of those people at the gun show, saying several of them admitted that they didn't need that style of firearm for hunting or self-defense and that they would gladly destroy their AR-15s.
The El Paso native has been a strong proponent of strict measures to tackle the growing issue of gun violence in the United States. As reported by The Inquisitr, O'Rourke took a stand after another mass shooting that took place in the Midland-Odessa area, about a month after the El Paso shooting, in which he blamed Congress for their failure to enact stricter background checks.
In an emotionally-charged speech to several of his supporters on the heels of the attack on his hometown, O'Rourke said that the Midland-Odessa shooting event was "f*cked up." The shooting took the lives of five people and injured over a dozen more.
O'Rourke has also publicly blamed President Donald Trump for the recent string of mass shootings and cited what he labeled as the president's racist rhetoric as the spark that inspired the allegedly racially-motivated shootings in his home state.
In a 2017 story published by NBC, they reported that approximately 15 million AR-15 rifles are in the possession of American gun owners.