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 ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul Buttigieg2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Buttigieg surges to 10-point lead in New Hampshire: poll 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 BookerKrystal Ball issues warning to Biden supporters Sanders official predicts health care, climate change will be top issues in fifth Democratic debate 2020 Democrats seek investigation into 'toxic culture' at NBC ahead of debate MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat Poll: Biden holds 11-point lead over Warren in Arizona Poll: Biden and Warren are neck and neck in California 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.