Rep. Beto O’Rourke made a bold gun control vow tonight at the third Democratic debate, moving the goal line for anti-gun advocates.
The former Texas congressman was applauded by the Democratic audience, backed up by polls which show nearly six of ten Americans favor banning assault weapons.
However gun-supporters were quick to respond on social media, with one GOP lawmaker in Texas making a death threat.
O’Rourke has made outspoken attacks on the Republicans and Donald Trump in particular over guns the centerpiece of his campaign in the wake of mass shootings in Texas, most recently at Walmart in El Paso.
O’Rourke got heated talking about the need to eliminate assault weapons after the mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa in a passionate speech that had the audience cheering him on.
Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15. If it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield, we’re going to buy it back. pic.twitter.com/cCEWkG6y0X
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
When asked by ABC moderator David Muir to confirm that he planned to mandate that Americans sell their guns, the former Texas congressman responded, “hell yes.”
“We’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore,” O’Rourke said.
Unlike the other candidates, who have advocated banning the further sale of assault weapons, O’Rourke’s plan involves confiscating such weapons under a forced buyback program.
Government confiscation of firearms has long been a bogeyman for many gun rights advocates—eliciting comparisons to Nazi Germany and other authoritarian regimes.
O’Rourke, in the debate, said that weapons “designed to kill people on a battlefield” must go, but that he feels both Republicans and Democrats should be included in the conversation about how to eliminate them.
“If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body, because it was designed to do that, so you would bleed to death on a battlefield. Not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers,” O’Rourke said.
“When we see that being used against children. And in Odessa, 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 an AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell yes. We’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke’s comments appeared to immediately galvanize people on both sides of the gun debate.
A Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain responded to O’Rourke on Twitter, writing, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
You’re a child Robert Francis https://t.co/rU3WoYQFQV
— ??????? ???? (@BriscoeCain) September 13, 2019
Beto O’Rourke’s Twitter account sent out a screenshot of the tweet, writing, “This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else.”