Las Vegas, NV — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke torn into rival Mayor Pete Buttigieg for not supporting his plan to have mandatory buybacks of AR-15s and AK-47s.
O'Rourke jabbed Buttigieg after participating in the "2020 Presidential Gun Safety Forum" on Wednesday, saying the South Bend, Ind. mayor was solely focused on running his campaign based on polls, focus groups, and consultants.
"What Pete has been saying is that a mandatory buyback is 'the shiny object that is distracting us.' How in the world can you say that? To March For Our Lives. How can you say that to survivors of mass shootings across this country?" Beto said to reporters.
"So I was really offended by those comments and I think he represents a kind of politics that is focused on poll testing and focus group driving and triangulating and listening to consultants before you arrive at a position. I think our politics has to be about doing the right thing," he continued.
Beto unloads on Pete pic.twitter.com/QpB1mJ1Bp8— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 2, 2019
While O'Rourke is now a stanch supporter of mandatory buybacks, he did not always feel that way. When he was running for Senate in Texas in 2018, O'Rourke said gun owners in the state who have AR-15s would be able to keep them. O'Rourke changed his stance after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
While candidates have be more open to have buybacks, some gun control groups are not as quick to jump on the idea.
Everytown for Gun Safety told Fox News in August, "Presidential candidates are talking about a number of policies to address gun violence in America. What Americans are demanding now is for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and a federal Red Flag law. Those need to be the Senate's first priorities."
March For Our Lives, which co-hosted the gun control forum, told Townhall that while they want to let people know that they will be not coming for their firearms, they do want them to know the group will go after AR-15s and AK-47s.
"When you talk to gun owners that use guns for sport, like hunting or different things, they understand that when we talk about removing AR-15s, that they don't need an AR-15 to hunt. You do not need an AR-15 to defend yourself. It's a weapon of war, that's just what it is," said Ariel Hobbs, a student executive board member.