South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized his fellow Democratic presidential challenger former Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Sunday for calling on the federal government to seize firearms from American citizens.
“Yes,” Buttigieg replied when CNN host Jake Tapper asked if O’Rourke’s demand for a federally mandated gun buyback program was playing into the hands of Republicans.
“Look, right now, we have an amazing moment right here on our hands,” Buttigieg continued. “We have agreement among the American people for not just universal background checks but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons.”
“This is a golden moment to finally do something because we’ve been arguing about this for as long as I’ve been alive,” he added.
Tapper’s question was in reference to remarks that O’Rourke made while participating in the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) third presidential primary debate on Thursday. While on stage, O’Rourke said in no uncertain terms that if he were to be elected president, he would impose a government-run nationwide gun confiscation program to seize firearms from law-abiding citizens.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said at the time. “We are not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke’s declaration received massive applause from the left-wing crowd, both in the area and on social media, however, even members of his own party have been sounding the alarm that such an anti-Second Amendment endorsement could be detrimental to Democrats and fire up the Republican base for years to come.
“Frankly, I think that that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying that Democrats are coming for your guns,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said on CNN following the debate.
“I’m a gun owner,” he continued. “My sons and I have gone skeet shooting and hunting, and frankly, I don’t think that having our presidential candidates like Congressman O’Rourke did, say that we’re going to try to take people’s guns against their will is a wise either policy or political move.”
After facing growing pressureto drop out of the race in August, Democratic presidential hopeful O’Rourke instead re-launched his campaign with a focus on an anti-gun platform.
The former Texas congressman was the first major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to endorse a federally mandated gun confiscation program for so-called “assault weapons.” Subsequently, a host of his primary challengers, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have followed suit.
To date, no proponent of banning “assault weapons” has provided clarity on what constitutes such a class of firearm.
O’Rourke has also been notably vague about how a nationwide gun confiscation program would work in the event that Americans refuse to voluntarily turn over their firearms to the government in a “buy back.”
“How do we enforce any law?” O’Rourke replied earlier in September when asked about the logistics of his plan. “I mean, there’s a significant reliance on people complying with the law.”