O'Rourke Supports Mandatory Gun Buyback Program

Says it's 'not politically easy'

Beto O'Rourke Essence Festival / Getty Images
August 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke confirmed Thursday that he supports a mandatory buyback program for "assault weapons and weapons of war."

CNN reporter Eric Bradner tweeted the transcript of O'Rourke's response to a question about the former congressman's calls for a mandatory buyback program. Last week, O'Rourke said he was "open" to a program modeled after the Australian mandatory buyback program implemented in 1996.

O'Rourke was initially reluctant to push for a buyback because it was "not politically easy," according to Bradner.

"Yes, I'm talking about a mandatory buyback of assault weapons of war in this country the owners paid a fair price for what they own," O'Rourke told Bradner.

"I know that this is not politically easy. It's frankly why far too few people have proposed it; it's frankly why I have not proposed it in the past. I've said, 'This is something we should consider' ... And now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, regardless of what it does to our prospects going forward, you've got to speak the truth and be clear about where the solutions are."

"I know we as Americans can find a way to do this that's fair to all concerned, but at the end of the day saves more lives than we're saving now," O'Rourke concluded.

The confirmation comes shortly after O'Rourke delivered a speech re-focusing his campaign on confronting President Donald Trump over immigration and gun control.

In 2015, Hilary Clinton said a buyback program was "worth considering" in the United States. Other Democratic candidates have called for gun control, but have not gone as far as O'Rourke. Frontrunner Joe Biden said that he would push to ban assault weapons as president in a New York Times op-ed, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) tweeted that she would take executive action on gun control.