White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke visited an Arkansas gun show Saturday to talk with firearm owners and vendors about solutions to tackle gun violence.
The visit comes one day after O’Rourke released a plan proposing a slate of gun control reforms and two weeks after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where O’Rourke represented in Congress from 2013 to 2019.
“At the show, Beto listened to voters － including many Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 － about their thoughts on gun safety. In order to make progress, Beto believes we have to meet people where they are, and not be afraid to have hard conversations with people who may not always agree,” O’Rourke’s campaign said in a statement.
The Texas Democrat made gun control a cornerstone of his presidential bid since returning to the campaign trail.
He took a 12-day break from campaign to return to El Paso after a white supremacist shot and killed 22 people.
O'Rourke's plan, which also includes platforms to combat white nationalism, calls for the creation of a nationwide gun licensing system and registry, universal background checks for gun purchases and implementing a gun buyback program and a federal "red-flag law" that would allow law enforcement to seize weapons from those a judge deems a danger to themselves or others.
O’Rourke’s campaign promoted interactions he had with gun show vendors and attendees who agreed with aspects of the plan, including a self-identified Trump voter who does not oppose a mandatory buyback program for assault rifles.
A Trump voter and Republican is, “ok with a mandatory assault weapons buy back” https://t.co/0KFapMkwyp— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans_TX) August 17, 2019
He sought to relaunch his campaign Thursday with a speech that described gun violence and racism as existential threats to the U.S.
“I’m confident that if at this moment we do not wake up to this threat, then we as a country will die in our sleep,” said O’Rourke.