Liberal MSNBC host Joy Reid defended Democratic calls for confiscation of AR-15s on Thursday, saying the only people she knew with those rifles were just "collectors" anyway.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas), in a reversal of his prior stance, has called for a mandatory buyback of AR-15s and AK-47s, the most popular rifles in America. At Thursday night's primary debate, he said "hell yes" he would take those guns.
During MSNBC's post-debate coverage liberal columnist Eugene Robinson said it was useful for O'Rourke to take the stance, saying that automatically made the voluntary buyback the "moderate position that we can all come together on."
"You had Beto go to a gun show and sit there and talk to people," Reid said. "The people that I've known that have AR-15s are mainly collectors. They're not normally people who are out there shooting deer with them."
"Most reasonable gun owners who may even be collectors with those kinds of weapons can have a conversation about the fact that they don't want any Tom, Dick, and Harry stockpiling them in their apartment and then carting them off to Walmart because they're angry at an employee or they just don't like brown people," she added.
Anchor Brian Williams wondered whether public support for gun control could move as fast as the support for gay marriage did in the United States.
While so-called assault weapons have dominated the gun control debate in the United States, rifles—of which AR-15s are a small subset—account for far fewer murders than knives.
O'Rourke is seeking to boost his flagging presidential campaign, which has been mired in the single digits in polling for months. He has moved sharply to the left on gun control in the wake of the mass shootings in Odessa and El Paso, Texas; the latter is his hometown.