Michael Moore praises O'Rourke on gun reform

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore praised former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) for not wavering on his calls for a mandatory gun buyback program for assault-style weapons.

O’Rourke faced backlash from both sides of the aisle for his strong rhetoric during last month’s Democratic primary debate for saying, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, AK-47.” 

But Moore defended the presidential hopeful for having the courage to stand up for his convictions, noting that the Democratic Party should do the same. 

“We need to have some courage,” Moore, who has endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill The Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen Fox's Ingraham mocks DNC over Nevada voting malfunctions: 'Are we a Third World country?' MORE (I-Vt.) for the 2020 nomination, said during an interview that aired Saturday. “No Republican had ever said it, but no Democrat had ever said it. Beto O’Rourke was the first to say we’re coming for your AR-15s.”

Moore maintained that Democrats shouldn’t have gone after O’Rourke for the remarks, arguing that his proposed gun buyback program would be supported by Democratic voters.

“Democrats went there to trash Beto O’Rourke for saying that, but if you watch the debate, it is the only moment where the audience flew out of their chairs and erupted in a standing ovation because that’s what the people want,” he told Hill.TV. 

Earlier this month O’Rourke hit back at fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen At Democratic debate, missed opportunities on immigration Surging Sanders looks for decisive win in Nevada MORE after the South Bend, Ind., mayor accused O'Rourke of picking a fight with him over the merits of a gun buyback program in order to stay relevant.

“Pete can belittle the grassroots; he can call buybacks a 'shiny object.' He can say whatever he wants, but guns kill 40,000 people each year,” O’Rourke tweeted in response to Buttigieg's comments. “Those people deserve action. I’ll be fighting for them.”

O’Rourke’s average support on polling aggregate site RealClearPolitics is 2.3 percent behind entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangCalifornia state lawmaker introduces bill to create universal basic income of K a month Hillicon Valley: Intel officials warned lawmakers Russia interfering in 2020 | Pompeo condemns Russian cyberattack on country of Georgia | Tech activists see Kickstarter union as breakthrough | Pentagon agency suffers data breach Manhattan DA investigating new abuse claims against doctor accused by Evelyn Yang MORE at 2.5 percent and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHouse to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Calif.) at 5.3 percent.

The former Texas congressman has yet to qualify for next month’s Democratic debate in Atlanta. To make the stage, candidates have to garner support from at least 165,000 unique donors and register at least 3 percent in four qualifying polls or 5 percent in two early-state polls by Nov. 13.

—Tess Bonn