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O'Rourke: Texans have told me they're fine giving up their AR-15s

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Friday defended his call for mandatory gun buybacks for AR-15 rifles, saying Texans have told him they "don't need" their AR-15s.

"Using guns to hunt or for self-defense makes a lot of sense to us here in Texas," O'Rourke, a former three-term congressman from the state, said during an interview on MSNBC.

"But even from those Texans who own AR-15s, they've told me this themselves: 'I don't need this. I don't need it to hunt. I don't need it to protect myself. It was fun to use. I like taking it out to the range, but if giving this back or cutting it to pieces or selling it to the government helps to keep us safer, then by all means let's do it,'" he said.

O'Rourke's remarks come after the former congressman - who has pushed for a mandatory gun buyback program for assault-style weapons - defended his proposal during Thursday's Democratic primary debate in Houston.

"Hell yes we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore," he said, prompting loud cheers and applause from the audience. 

The comment prompted GOP state Rep. Briscoe Cain to write in a tweet - which Twitter has since taken down - that his "AR is ready for" O'Rourke.

The White House hopeful continued to push back against the Texas legislator's tweet on Friday.

"His use of firearms to try to intimidate people - that's not reflective of this state. Gun owners, non-gun owners alike ... we are proud of gun ownership but responsible gun ownership," O'Rourke said of Cain on Friday.

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