Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke recently opened up about the attacks he faced over his demand for a nationwide gun confiscation program, stating that he took pride in condemnation from not only President Donald Trump, but also from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“It shows me we are doing something right,” O’Rourke told reporters Thursday while visiting a marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California, on Thursday. The former Texas congressman further noted that because Schumer, a member of his own party, launched the attack, it signaled that O’Rourke was being authentic.
However, O’Rourke’s calls for the government to seize firearms from millions of law-abiding citizens have been a divisive topic for the Democratic Party. While his declaration received massive applause from the left-wing crowd at the last Democratic National Committee (DNC) primary debate, many Democratic lawmakers have since been distancing themselves from the rallying cries.
Schumer brushed off O’Rourke’s gun confiscation plan on Wednesday, telling reporters that he doesn’t “know of any other Democrat who agrees” with the proposal.
“Ask Chuck Schumer what he’s been able to get done,” O’Rourke responded to Schumer’s dismissal, in comments reported by The Washington Post. “We still don’t have [universal] background checks. Didn’t have them when he was in the majority either. So, you know, the game that he’s played, the politics that he’s pursued have give us absolutely nothing. And have produced a situation where we lose nearly 40,000 of our fellow Americans every year.”
“What [Schumer] may not know, but what I hear loud and clear, because I’m traveling the country listening to my fellow Americans, is that the people are there,” he added.
While Schumer has largely remained silent on the issue after his initial remarks to reporters, O’Rourke has continued to defend himself against the Senate’s top Democrat. O’Rourke’s presidential campaign swiftly sent out fundraising emails illustrating the popularity of a nationwide gun-grab among Democrats, and O’Rourke tweeted his case to the minority leader multiple times.
Despite Schumer’s dismissal of the proposal, he has been a long-time advocate of strict gun reforms. While serving in the House of Representatives in the 1990s, he authored both the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the federal assault weapons ban. Following a recent slew of deadly mass shootings over the summer, Schumer has been urging Congress and the White House to enact an expansive package of gun control legislation that includes universal background checks and red flag laws.
“Over the last five weeks, I’ve just been focused on saying what’s on my mind, being myself,” O’Rourke told The New York Times on Monday. “And not really in the slightest being interested in polls, or how things poll, or what you’re supposed to say.”
O’Rourke’s campaign, however, has struggled to gain traction and his polling numbers have stalled out in the low single-digits.
After facing mounting pressure to drop out of the race in August, the Democratic presidential hopeful instead re-launched his campaign with a new-found calling to promulgate anti-Second Amendment policies in an attempt to prevent further gun crime.