Beto O’Rourke, former Texas congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, told CNN on Sunday that he supports stronger gun laws including a mandatory gun buyback.
"We are going to speak as strongly and as defiantly as we can but we are also going to take action," O’Rourke said. "Universal background checks, red flag laws, and ending the sales of weapons of war and buying those AK-47s and AR-15s back so they cannot be used against our fellow Americans."
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O’Rourke responded to a Saturday shooting that left 7 people dead and 21 people injured in Odessa and Midland Texas. This is the second mass shooting in Texas in less than a month. Texas troopers stopped a driver, described as a white male in his 30s. The man took a rifle and shot out his window. He proceeded to engage in a shooting rampage as he fired randomly at people and motorists. The gunman was shot and killed by police.
"If millions of [guns] remain on the streets they will still be instruments of terror that terrify and terrorize us and take our lives and I’m not going to accept that," O’Rourke said.
The USA Today editorial board criticized buyback laws stating, "The legislation would absolutely be doomed if it included a mandatory buyback provision, making millions of law-abiding firearm owners criminals for not selling their rifles back to the federal government. Anything smacking of confiscation would breathe life and energy into the not-from-my-cold-dead-hands crowd, endangering law enforcement and likely putting a full stop to any further gun safety measures."
O’Rourke emphasized the buyback law would be mandatory, not a choice, forcing Americans to turn in specified weapons.
"Buy those weapons of war back. Mandate that. Not voluntarily. Let’s be really clear with our fellow Americans," O’Rourke said in separate interview with MSNBC.
O'Rourke also supports a national gun registry program.