Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 Cruz bullish on his 2024 chances: 'The runner-up is almost always the next nominee' MORE, a former Texas congressman, said he supports a federal gun licensing program and would plan on implementing one if elected president.
"We should do it. We should have a national licensing program in this country," O'Rourke said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
O'Rourke has been in his home city El Paso, Texas, since last weekend's shooting that killed 22 people.
"I have listened to my fellow Americans, my fellow Texans, my fellow El Pasoans. This makes sense. It will save lives," he said.
O'Rourke said in conjunction with red flag laws, universal background checks and closing loopholes, "we can end this epidemic of gun violence that will claim more than 40,000 lives this year, happening every single day in almost every single community."
He also pushed back on criticism that gun licensing won't stop mass shootings if criminals can access illegal guns.
“Then why pass any law, and why be a nation of laws? I think we pass those laws that we know will improve our lives, save lives, protect our fellow Americans. And then we have to vigorously enforce those laws. And, as, president I would," he said.
Some of his 2020 opponents have also backed gun licensing as part of their campaign platforms, including Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Bass raises nearly million since launching LA mayor campaign CNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee MORE (D-N.J.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Airlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports MORE.