Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said "there have to be consequences" for gun owners who do not surrender their AR-15s, which would include police going to their homes and confiscating them.
The former Democratic Texas congressman was pressed by "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday after the fourth Democratic presidential debate.
"OK, but let’s just assume there’s a rancher in Texas that doesn’t, that says, 'I’m not going to do this because this is an unjust law and it’s unconstitutional.' What’s the next step? I think that’s what we need to concede because there will be people that don’t turn the guns back in. What’s the next step for the federal government there?" Scarborough asked.
"Yeah, I think just as in any law that is not followed or flagrantly abused, there have to be consequences or else there is no respect for the law," O'Rourke replied. "So you know, in that case I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back so that it cannot be potentially used against somebody else."
O'Rourke has maintained that he believes Americans would just follow the law and hand over their AR-15s to law enforcement. He has also said he would impose fines to "compel" gun owners to turn them in. Democratic candidates, such as O'Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have directly criticized South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg for not supporting mandatory gun buybacks.
Buttigieg confronted O'Rourke during the debate by referring to his service in the Navy, telling him, "I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal."