O'Rourke hits Meghan McCain for saying government taking away guns would cause 'a lot of violence'

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke pushed back against those asserting that a mandatory gun buyback proposal would ultimately lead to violence in America, arguing that "we’re doing nothing now and we’re seeing people slaughtered." 

“I just I think that kind of language and rhetoric is not helpful,” O'Rourke told The Daily Beast in an interview published on Thursday. “It becomes self-fulfilling; you have people on TV, who are almost giving you permission to be violent and saying ‘you know this is this is going to happen.’”

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The Beast noted that O'Rourke specifically pointed to "The View" co-host Meghan McCainMeghan Marguerite McCainChelsea Clinton says she's not considering a bid for New York House seat Meghan McCain praises Yang for starting conversation on automation: 'It's incredibly impressive' Meghan McCain: It's 'breaking my heart' Warren is leading Biden in the polls MORE's comments in wake of the most recent mass shooting in West Texas last weekend.

McCain, the daughter of late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPublisher announces McSally book planned for May release Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota Here's what to watch this week on impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.), asserted Tuesday that compelling citizens to give up their assault weapons would cause violence. 

"The AR-15 is by far the most popular gun in America," she said during a discussion on the recent string of mass shootings in the U.S. "If you're talking about going and taking people's guns away from them, there's going to be a lot of violence."

O'Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, argued that McCain's assertion fails to address the gun violence happening right now. 

"When someone says 'if you do this, then this will happen,' almost as though that’s a natural response or maybe even something that should happen or deserves to happen," the former Democratic congressman said. "When I think the response should be: ‘We’re doing nothing now and we’re seeing people slaughtered in their schools, at work, at a Walmart, in a synagogue, in a church, at a concert. There is violence right now and it is horrifying and it is terrifying and it is terrorizing.’....We should be worried about that kind of violence right now.”

O'Rourke has become one of the most outspoken advocates for gun reform after a gunman opened fire in his home city of El Paso and killed 22 people last month.

The former congressman briefly suspended his campaign following the massacre and has frequently spoken out about Congress's failure to pass meaningful gun legislation. 

In mid-August, O'Rourke's campaign released a sweeping plan that included calls for a nationwide gun licensing system and registry, as well as a mandatory buyback program for banned assault weapons. 

“Congress’s failure to act has resulted in a democracy that is unwilling to confront an epidemic of gun violence. It’s time for those in positions of public trust to stand up, tell the truth and offer bold solutions without fear of political ramifications so we can finally start making progress and saving lives," he said at the time. 

In his interview with The Daily Beast, O'Rourke called for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails Trump urges GOP to fight for him MORE (D-Calif.) to convene Congress to vote on gun control legislation.