O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) comments on gun control in the third Democratic presidential debate Thursday evening propelled the topic to the forefront Sunday morning, with Democratic guests suggesting his comment that “hell yes, we’re going to take” assault-style rifles could play into GOP hands.

O’Rourke, who has ramped up his rhetoric on gun control in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 22 in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, defended the remark, telling NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddTrump dings CNN, 'Morning Joe' ratings as Tucker Carlson sets record Cuomo: Trump administration 'in denial' about coronavirus 'problem' Arkansas governor urges 'consistent national message' on wearing masks MORE that concerns about how it would play politically “just [show] how screwed up the priorities in Washington, D.C., are.”

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"What's truly awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart the Saturday before schools starts that next Monday buying their school supplies, innocent of any crime or any threat to this country — in fact living in one of the safest cities in America, El Paso, Texas — hunted down by their ethnicity with a weapon that was designed for use on a battlefield," O'Rourke added.

One of O’Rourke’s Democratic presidential opponents, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE, told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCarson calls for local leaders to 'condemn vandalization of statues,' 'dismantle autonomous zones' Officials couldn't reach Trump on golf course to delete retweet of video showing man chanting 'white power': report Democratic officials, governors push for nationwide mask mandate as administration defends state-by-state approach MORE the moment could be used against Democrats by Republicans, simply responding with “yes” when Tapper asked if it could play into GOP hands.

Buttigieg added that the focus should be on more popular positions such as universal background checks and new assault weapon sales.

"This is a golden moment to do something. We've been arguing about this for as long as I've been alive," he said. "Let's get this done."

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineOVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change DOJ whistleblower: California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' Hillicon Valley: Apple's developer dispute draws lawmaker scrutiny of App Store | GOP senator blocks bill to expand mail-in and early voting | Twitter flags Trump tweet on protesters for including 'threat of harm' MORE (D-R.I.) told “Fox News Sunday” guest host Bill Hemmer that O’Rourke’s comment “doesn’t help” but added that no gun-related legislation in the Democratic House has included mandatory buybacks, adding that the priority should instead be universal background checks.

“We know background checks work,” he added. “We have to do something. The American people are demanding we do something. ... I grew up and we did fire drills. That was the scariest thing we did. Now young children are doing active shooter drills.”

Counselor to the president Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayLincoln Project hits Trump over Russian bounties Obama said Trump's use of term 'kung flu' 'shocks and pisses me off': report New Lincoln Project ad slams Trump over deaths of 'Greatest Generation' members from COVID-19 MORE, meanwhile, referenced the comment to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE’s apparent backtrack on strengthening background checks.

“We’re not going to allow bad actors who should not have firearms in the first place to be the excuse for a bunch of liberals and socialists to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens who have legally procured them,” Conway told Hemmer.

“I’m not going to allow people who are constantly maligning and deriding our law enforcement to be in charge of public safety [and] public policy,” Conway added.