Booker hits Buttigieg over gun buyback comment: NRA doesn't 'need our help'

Booker hits Buttigieg over gun buyback comment: NRA doesn't 'need our help'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-N.J.) on Monday criticized fellow Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE after the South Bend, Ind., mayor said that gun buybacks amounted to "confiscation" of people's firearms.

"Calling buyback programs 'confiscation' is doing the NRA's work for them, @PeteButtigieg—and they don't need our help," Booker tweeted, referring to the National Rifle Association.

"I just don't think we should wait to have a fight over confiscation when we can win on background checks and assault weapons ban and red flag laws right now," Buttigieg said of buybacks in an appearance on the Snapchat show "Good Luck America."

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"My focus right now is getting something done," he added. 

The Buttigieg campaign pointed The Hill to the mayor's plan for addressing gun violence when asked for comment. In it, he endorses universal background checks, "red flag" laws, and banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Buttigieg has previously expressed support for focusing on other measures when asked about gun buybacks by a CBS News reporter.

"I continue to believe that our focus right now should be universal background checks, red flag laws and a ban on the sale of assault weapons," he said. "Because we can get this done now." 

Fellow 2020 Democratic hopeful former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeDeval Patrick enters 2020 race O'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' MORE (Texas), who has been a vocal supporter of mandatory buybacks since a mass shooting rocked his hometown of El Paso, has also previously criticized Buttigieg for his reluctance to support the measure. 

He said that Democrats who haven't supported the program "maybe want to get to the right place,” but are afraid.

Asked in a CNN interview last month whether he was in favor of "gun confiscation" O'Rourke said, "Yes, when it comes to AR-15s and AK-47s."

Buttigieg, Booker and O'Rourke are all expected to take the debate stage alongside nine others on Tuesday night.

— This report was updated at 2:03 p.m.