O'Rourke: We can't meet gun violence threat with 'half measures' or 'half the country'

O'Rourke: We can't meet gun violence threat with 'half measures' or 'half the country'

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeHegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset MORE advocated for his comprehensive gun reform plan on Sunday in the wake of another mass shooting in West Texas that killed five people. 

"The rhetoric we’ve used the 'thoughts and prayers' … have done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence," O'Rourke said on CNN's "State of the Union." 

"Yes, this is f---ed up," O'Rourke added.


The former Texas congressman's plan calls for universal background checks, red flag laws, assault rifle bans, as well as a mandatory gun buyback and licensing program.

O'Rourke said it will take the whole country to make a change. 

"The challenge is so grave, the threat is so grave, that we can’t meet it with half measures or only half the country," he said. 

O'Rourke said Democrats and Republicans, as well as gun owners and non-gun owners, will have to come together to pass comprehensive gun reform. 

The Democrat said he recently went to a gun show and spoke with gun owners. He said some told him they disagree with his proposals, but are also concerned for their safety and their children and want to see change. 

"More than I worry about the politics or the polling, more than I care about what the NRA has to say on this, I care for my kids and this country and kids who live in terror every day," O'Rourke said. 

"This is not right and we should not accept it," he added. 

Lawmakers have to be "honest with ourselves" and realize that even if measures are established to limit new sales of assault rifles, millions of them remain on the street," he said. 

"They will still be instruments of terror and I will not accept that," O'Rourke said.  "This triangulation, calculation, poll testing every move — that's what got us here in the first place."

O’Rourke told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” that he had spoken with a woman in a conservative, rural part of the state who told him “I was born with a .22 in my hands but I also have more than 20 grandchildren and I want to know whether you’re going to represent them or the [National Rifle Association].”

“Though she’s a gun owner, though she’s conservative, she wants us to take common sense practical steps to protect her grandkids,” he added.

O’Rourke added that other gun owners he had spoken with were in agreement on proposals such as universal background checks.

“The courage of their convictions just needs to be reflected in our national leadership … when we do that we will save the lives of people,” he said.

--Zack Budryk contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:07 a.m.