During Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate hosted in Houston, Texas, former lawmaker Beto O’Rourke grabbed a number of headlines after pledging to confiscate AR-15 and AK-47 rifles from gun owners in the United States, should he become president.
As reported by The Inquisitr, O’Rourke, who has been a passionate and outspoken gun control advocate, told the debate moderators and audience he was all-in on government confiscation of the popular rifles after recounting the story of meeting the mother of a young teen shot by an AR-15.
“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.
While the audience roared with applause after the bold statement, at least one Democratic Senator expressed immediate concern over the remark. Sen. Chris Coons warned that statements that involve confiscation promises could haunt the party for years to come.
“I frankly think that that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying that Democrats are coming for your guns,” Coons said during a CNN interview, according to The Hill.
The concerns echo what Republican politicians have warned their constituents of for years — which is that stricter gun control measures by the Democratic party could theoretically lead to mandatory gun buyback programs, gun registries and in O’Rourke’s vision, a full-fledged confiscation effort.
Coons doubled down on his disapproval of O’Rourke’s proposed plan, calling his wording a political mistake.
“I don’t think having our presidential candidates, like Congressman O’Rourke did, say that we’re going to try to take people’s guns against their will is a wise policy or political move,” he said.
Coons has led an effort to work with Republicans to move forward on new gun control measures, including stricter background checks — which was passed in the Democrat-led House in February. He’s also working across the aisle with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey on a program that would notify police when someone who isn’t legally allowed to purchase a firearm tries to acquire one anyway.
Toomey echoed Coons’ concerns over O’Rourke’s statement, claiming that it undermines bi-partisan efforts to make progress on the gun violence issue, which has gained even more attention in the wake of a deadly string of mass shootings across the United States in 2019.
O’Rourke also nabbed headlines recently on the heels of the two mass shootings that took place in his home state of Texas by blaming President Donald Trump’s rhetoric for sparking the violent and deadly acts.