O'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal

O'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) hit back at his fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE over their diverging stances on the merits of a gun buyback program.

O'Rourke had hit Buttigieg earlier this month over the mayor's hesitancy to back a mandatory buyback program for assault rifles.

In an interview on Monday, Buttigieg responded to O’Rourke’s criticism, saying the former Texas congressman was just looking to make headlines.

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“I get it. He needs to pick a fight in order to stay relevant,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.”

O’Rourke responded, quote-tweeting the interview along with a new jab.

“Pete can belittle the grassroots; he can call buybacks a 'shiny object.' He can say whatever he wants, but guns kill 40,000 people each year,” O’Rourke tweeted. “Those people deserve action. I’ll be fighting for them.”

Other Democratic presidential candidates were quick to pile on Buttigieg as well, with Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast Why Gretchen Whitmer's stock is rising with Team Biden MORE (D-Calif.) also tweeting their displeasure with his comments.

“Leaving more than 5 million assault weapons on the street isn't a ban, it's a Band-Aid,” Harris tweeted in response to Buttigieg calling mandatory gun buybacks “confiscation.”

Meanwhile, Booker said that Buttigieg calling gun buyback programs "confiscation" is "doing the NRA's work for them," adding that the National Rifle Association doesn't "need our help."

Buttigieg has released a plan to address gun violence that calls for universal background checks, the implementation of a "red flag" gun law, and a ban on the sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

O’Rourke has been a vocal supporter of mandatory buybacks since a mass shooting rocked his hometown of El Paso, Texas. He was praised by his fellow candidates at the last Democratic debate for his response to the shooting.

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