MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said that presidential candidate Beto Rourke's (D.) call for a mandatory buyback of AR-15s and AK-47s could make it harder to pass gun control measures.
"What Beto O'Rourke said last night may have actually complicated this measure for the Democrats on the hill who are trying to negotiate a deal," Mitchell said on her show Andrea Mitchell Reports Friday afternoon.
"Now Pat Toomey has tweeted out that what Beto had said has actually made it more difficult to get consensus on the background checks," she continued.
During the third Democratic debate, O'Rourke emphatically called for a seizure of AR-15s and AK-47s.
"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," he said. "We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."
O'Rourke's call drew rapid criticism from legislators. "I agree with @ChrisCoons. This is an awful and extreme idea. Thankfully, there's not enough support in Congress to do it," Sen. Toomey (R., Pa.) wrote on Twitter. "But this rhetoric undermines and hurts bipartisan efforts to actually make progress on commonsense gun safety efforts, like expanding background checks."
I agree with @ChrisCoons. This is an awful and extreme idea. Thankfully, there’s not enough support in Congress to do it. But this rhetoric undermines and hurts bipartisan efforts to actually make progress on commonsense gun safety efforts, like expanding background checks. https://t.co/lRmy8SHc47
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) September 13, 2019
Andrea Mitchell Reports guest Margaret Carlson, a Daily Beast columnist, argued that an assault weapons buyback is more urgent than background checks.
"When he said 'of course we're going to take away your assault weapons,' that's what people think. Why do we have assault weapons? I think it's even more urgent than the background check because the assault weapons are the one consistent thing in all of these mass shootings," she said.
"If those weren't out there, even the people that Trump says are responsible, which is people with mental health issues, wouldn't have a gun that could do the damage that these guns do," she continued.
Mitchell's fellow MSNBC host Joy Reid also defended O'Rourke's call for a mandatory buyback, saying that the only people she knows who own AR-15s are "collectors."
"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," she argued.