O'Rourke: Many Democrats 'complicit' in gun problem

O'Rourke: Many Democrats 'complicit' in gun problem
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who is facing criticism from both sides of the aisle for proposing a mandatory buyback program for assault-style weapons, said in an interview late Wednesday that many Democrats “are complicit in what we see right now."

"I mean, the Republicans are the most obstinate and the most obstructionist and the most in the pockets of the NRA [National Rifle Association], but it's been a bipartisan problem that the Centers for Disease Control couldn't even study gun violence, that here we are in 2019 and we still don't have universal background checks or 'red flag' laws or we allowed the assault weapons ban to expire, even though it did so much good and saved so many lives," the former Texas congressman told CNN.

"So, this old policy and tactic of relying on polls and allowing the NRA to set the terms of the debate no longer works for me and no longer works for this country," he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

O'Rourke also said there is public support for stricter gun control measures and "that urgency just needs to be reflected in their leadership in Congress. It will be reflected when I'm in the White House."

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegFormer Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over MORE, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate, said over the weekend that he thinks O’Rourke played into the Republican Party’s hands when he said at last week's debate: "hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project Trump signs major conservation bill into law Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response MORE (D-W.Va.) also told reporters on Wednesday that O’Rourke is "not taking my guns away from me” when asked about the program.

"Beto's one human being," Manchin said. "He gave his own opinion, OK? I think it was very harmful to make it look like all the Democrats. I can tell you one thing: Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBeto O'Rourke calls Texas GOP 'a death cult' over coronavirus response Hegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump MORE's not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that OK?"

Manchin's office later told NBC News that the senator does not own an assault-style rifle.