O'Rourke Flips on Booker's Federal Gun Licensing Proposal, Says 'We Should Explore That Idea'

Beto O'Rourke / Screenshot
May 10, 2019

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D.) said Friday that "we should explore" Sen. Cory Booker's (D., N.J.) call to require federal gun licensing after initially saying such a proposal went "too far."

In an interview on New Hampshire's WMUR program CloseUp, O'Rourke was asked again about his criticism of Booker, one of his nearly two-dozen rivals vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Booker's sweeping gun control platform includes a proposal to require gun owners to obtain a federal firearms license every five years.

"I think that Senator Cory Booker has made an incredibly bold proposal that's commensurate with the crisis that we see in this country," O'Rourke said. "More than 30,000 of our fellow Americans will lose their lives to gun violence this year. I think his request of us that, in addition to those steps that I just talked about, we put everything on the table to make sure that we address this crisis with the urgency that it demands."

"I think he is to be commended for doing this," O'Rourke added. "I think we should explore that idea and make sure that, at the end of the day, we are focused first and foremost on saving the lives of our fellow Americans."

It was a different tune from just a day earlier, when O'Rourke told Fox News that such a plan "may be too far."

"I don't know that we need to take the additional step of licensing every single firearm to every single owner," he said. "I think that may be too far."

"I think relying on the responsibility and accountability that gun owners feel—matching that with universal background checks, stopping the sales of weapons of war, red flag laws—that's the perfect way to compliment the responsible gun ownership that we see in this country right now," O'Rourke added.

Like Booker, O'Rourke is struggling to make headway in national and early state primary polls.