Billionaire anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg called Beto O'Rourke's gun confiscation plan "impractical" and a "rallying cry" for citizens who think Democrats are overstepping their bounds in the gun control debate.
The former New York City mayor criticized O'Rourke's performance in the September Democratic debate, specifically his "hell yes" response when asked if he would take AR-15s and AK-47s from their owners. He doubted the feasibility of the proposal from the former Texas congressman and failed Senate candidate.
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"That's why I won't be a candidate of the Democratic Party," Bloomberg told Firing Line host Margaret Hoover. "Because it's so impractical. I don't know how you'd even do it. It would be such a rallying cry for people to say, ‘They're overstepping their bounds.'"
"That is not the way to win this issue," he added.
"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15 and your AK-47," @BetoORourke has said.
Gun safety advocate @MikeBloomberg reacts: "That's why I won't be the candidate of the Democratic Party…. It would be such a rallying cry for people that say they are overstepping their bounds." pic.twitter.com/DI8e4aTPs4
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) September 27, 2019
Bloomberg said the government should go after gun manufacturers and focus on passing red flag laws and expanded background checks.
"His idea is so impractical," Bloomberg said. "People that have guns tend to have lots of guns, and the theory is, ‘somebody is going to come to the front door, rape my women, and take my guns.' That's what they believe, and to exacerbate it and give them more ammunition just isn't all that productive."
O'Rourke is trying to rescue his faltering presidential campaign with a renewed emphasis on gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso. He's defended his proposal as constitutionally sound and "absolutely necessary," claiming to have spoken with gun owners who agree with his stance.
Bloomberg mulled a run for president before announcing in March he would not seek the nomination. Bloomberg was first elected mayor as a Republican in 2001 and was reelected twice. He became an independent in 2007 and joined the Democrats in 2018.
He and his organizations spent more than $110 million to elect Democrats during the 2018 midterms.