Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) revealed on Sunday that he is not opposed to confiscating firearms from American citizens through an Australia-style mandatory gun buyback program.
“Yes, and I’m open to them right now as a candidate,” O’Rourke responded when asked on the “Pod Save America” podcast if he supported the measure along with requiring gun licenses.
“It absolutely has to be a part of the conversation,” he continued. “If at the end of the day it’s going to save lives, if it’s going to prevent the kind of tragedies that we saw in El Paso or Gilroy or Dayton or this weekend in Chicago or all over this country on a daily basis, then let’s move forward and do it.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful has long advocated for strict gun control measures, such as requiring universal background checks, banning magazines over the standard capacity, opposing conceal carry reciprocity, and banning so-called “assault weapons.”
O’Rourke received backlash during his failed run to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after he contended that the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15, should no longer be sold in the country.
“That weapon was designed for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill people as effectively and as efficiently as possible on the battlefield,” O’Rourke said during a Feb. 2018 interview. “It has no place in our streets, in our schools, in our concerts, in our movie theaters. We should not be selling that to civilians.”
The Beto For Texas Senate campaign did not respond when Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked at the time about the firearm’s use for self-defense.
However, O’Rourke seemingly aggravated both sides of the gun debate when he proposed months later that Americans who currently own an AR-15 should be able to keep it in their possession, but the firearm should no longer be manufactured.
“If you own an AR-15, keep it,” he said in March 2019. “Continue to use it responsibly and safely. I just don’t think that we need to sell any more weapons of war into this public.”
The former congressman also claimed at the time that the semi-automatic rifle “will blow a hole through your back the size of an orange.” Left-leaning fact check site Snopes was unable to verify O’Rourke’s claim.
“I know that when we define the right thing, the goal, we will find the political will to get there and I know it’s not easy,” O’Rourke continued on Sunday’s podcast. “I come from Texas and this is a very proud, gun-owning state, but I know from listening to people in Texas — gun owners, Republicans, non-gun owners, Democrats, Independents, everyone — people want to make sure that their kids are ok, that their families are safe, that their children don’t fear the future or going into school or being at a concert, or going to Walmart on a Saturday morning.”
“So yeah, absolutely,” O’Rourke added about imposing a mandatory buyback program.
O’Rourke’s campaign did not return The Daily Wire’s request for comment.