Beto Rips Buttigieg for Refusal to Support Gun Buybacks

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke ripped fellow Democrats Wednesday for not supporting his mandatory gun buyback program.

O'Rourke told reporters he was "really offended" by South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg calling a buyback plan a distracting "shiny object" during MSNBC's Wednesday forum on gun safety.

"I heard some of the comments made today on this stage. Those who are worried about the polls and want to triangulate or talk to the consultants or listen to the focus groups. And I'm thinking about Mayor Pete on this one," O'Rourke said during the forum. "Who I think probably wants to get to the right place but is afraid of doing the right thing right now."

After the forum, O'Rourke tweeted a video doubling down on his attack.

"What Pete has been saying is that a mandatory buyback is the ‘shiny object' that's distracting us. How in the world can you say that to [gun control activist group] March For Our Lives? How can you say that to survivors of mass shootings across the country?" O'Rourke said. "I was really offended by those comments."

O'Rourke's call for mandatory buybacks of some "assault weapons" is radical even among Democrats. He argued at the forum that poll numbers indicate a large number of Americans support buybacks.

"So to Chuck Schumer, and Chris Coons, and Mayor Pete and others, not only is it the right thing to do, not only will we save the lives of our fellow Americans, our fellow human beings, the American people are with us on this issue. It's time to lead," O'Rourke said.

This is not the first time Buttigieg has criticized O'Rourke's proposal. Shortly after the third Democratic debate, the South Bend mayor argued his opponent's hardline stance goes too far.

O'Rourke has qualified for the fourth Democratic debate, taking place in October, but is struggling to reach the polling threshold required for the November debate.