Presidential candidate and New Jersey senator Cory Booker (D.) dismissed concerns about mandatory gun buyback programs Wednesday, saying objections to gun confiscations are "fear-mongering."
During an appearance on CNN's OutFront, Booker said the "far-right" is framing the issue of gun control, and that is stopping legislation from passing.
"I think that we've allowed this debate to be framed by the fear-mongering of people on the far right, who try to whip up this fear that our Second Amendment rights are going to be taken away from us. And that is just simply not the case," he said.
Host Erin Burnett played a clip from last week's Democratic debate, in which Booker's fellow presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke promised to confiscate AR-15s, the most popular rifles in America.
"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke said. "We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."
"I know you support a mandatory buyback on assault weapons, but there are Democrats even who are saying what O'Rourke said and how he said it is a problem," Burnett said. "Senator Chris Coons among them saying that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, asked if it would play into hands of Republicans, gave a simple answer: Yes. What do you think?"
Burnett was correct in noting Booker supports a mandatory buyback of assault weapons, but he dismissed concerns about the possibility of that infringing on the Second Amendment.
"Look, we as a society have gotten weapons of war off of our streets in the past. In the 1980s it was machine guns. We collectively agreed these guns do not belong on our streets, and we got rid of them," he said. "We can do that with these assault rifles that are the tool of choice for mass murderers, and most Americans agree with that."
Assault rifles, which are fully automatic, are already subject to federal controls. Booker apparently meant to say "assault weapons," which is a term used for certain semiautomatic rifles, including the AR-15 and AK-47.
"I'm not going to play into the hands of the far-right fear-mongering that's going on. Commonsense, sensible gun reform is something the overwhelming majority of Americans agree on, and I want to keep the conversation focused on that," he said.