O'Rourke 'open' to mandatory gun buyback program

O'Rourke 'open' to mandatory gun buyback program
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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said Monday that he’s open to instituting a mandatory gun buyback program if he’s elected to the White House following a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, last week. 

“It absolutely has to be part of the conversation. And at the end of the day, if it’s going to save lives, if it’s going to prevent the kinds 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,” O’Rourke said on the podcast “Pod Save America” when asked if he’d be open to mandatory gun buyback programs or gun licenses, referencing shootings in other cities in recent days.

O’Rourke went on to say that although he used to represent a “proud gun-owning” state in the House, he believes there could be bipartisan appeal for gun control reform.

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“I know it’s not easy. I come from Texas, and this is a very proud gun-owning state,” he said. “But I also know from listening to people in Texas — gun owners, Republicans, non-gun owners, Democrats, independents, everyone — people want to make sure their kids are OK, that their families are safe.” 

O’Rourke has long advocated for a slate of gun control measures, including universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. However, he said earlier this year that while the AR-15 rifle, which has been used in several high-profile mass shootings, should no longer be manufactured, owners should be allowed to keep them in their possession.

“If you own an AR-15, keep it,” he said. “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 Texas Democrat said he would support efforts for the Senate, currently controlled by Republicans, to get rid of the 60-vote legislative filibuster to pass further gun control reforms but that the desire for such change already exists.

“So yes, get rid of the filibuster. Make sure that we are able to achieve this goal. But even in the face of the filibuster, I know that this country is strong enough because we’ve demonstrated it before,” he said Monday, adding that he sees a drive for gun control that's reminiscent of the civil rights movement.