Buttigieg: O'Rourke Went Too Far on Gun Stance

'This is a golden moment to finally do something'

September 15, 2019

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg said that fellow 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke went too far with his hard-line stance on gun control at Thursday's primary debate.

Buttigieg's comments came Sunday during an exchange with CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

"Beto O'Rourke raised some eyebrows by saying, 'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,'" Tapper said. "Democratic senator Chris Coons of Delaware responded by saying this, quote, 'That clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies for organizations trying to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns.' Do you agree? Did Beto O'Rourke say something that is playing in the hands of Republicans?"

"Yes," Buttigieg responded. "Look, right now we have an amazing moment on our hands. We have agreement among the American people for not just for universal backgrounds checks, but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high-capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons."

Buttigieg continued that "this is a golden moment to finally do something."

"We've been arguing about this for as long as I've been alive," he said. "When even this president and even Mitch McConnell at least are pretending to be open to reforms, we know we have a moment on our hands. Let's make the most of it and get these things done."

O'Rourke's comment at the debate swerved sharply from the stance he took on guns in 2018 when he was running for Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

"If you own a gun, keep that gun," he said during a radio interview. "Nobody wants to take it away from you, at least I don't want to do that."

O'Rourke's flip was divisive to Democrats, with some commentators praising him for the stance and others saying it will make guns a more difficult topic for Democrats.