Robert “Beto” O’Rourke returned to his calls for an “assault weapons” ban during the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates Tuesday night.
O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, warned that there would be “consequences” if Americans did not comply with gun confiscation under his leadership.
“If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47… then that weapon will be taken from them. If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement.” – Beto O’Rourke
— BlazeTV (@BlazeTV) October 16, 2019
“So, how exactly are you going to force people to give up their weapons? You don’t even know who has those weapons,” debate moderator Anderson Cooper asked.
O’Rourke said his first focus would be on saving lives.
“I expect my fellow Americans to follow the law, the same way that we enforce any provision, any law, that we have right now. We don’t go door to door to do anything in this country to enforce the law. I expect Republicans, Democrats, gun owners and non-gun owners alike to respect and follow the law,” O’Rourke answered.
Cooper pressed the question further, noting that O’Rourke’s campaign site includes details about the enforcement of his proposed assault weapons ban, including a fine for people who fail or choose not to participate in the mandatory buyback of their banned property.
“If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or AK-47, one of these weapons or war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, as we saw when we were at Kent State recently, then that weapon will be taken from them,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke continued, “If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement. But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law. I believe in this country, I believe in my fellow Americans. I believe that they will do the right thing.”
O’Rourke’s did not specify what additional “consequences” would follow from law enforcement against those who persist in the ownership of a firearm banned under O’Rourke’s plan and though he did not say there would be a door to door confiscation, his answer seemed to suggest those banned firearms would be confiscated by some means if they are not turned in.
Since vowing a mandatory buyback for “assault weapons” like the AR-15 during the last Democratic Presidential debate, the former Texas congressman has made his strong gun confiscation stance a selling point of his campaign, even capitalizing on his “hell yes,” call for confiscation of AR-15s with a tshirt sold on his campaign store.
At the last debate, he remarked, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” after Cooper asked O’Rourke how such a law would be enforced after O’Rourke said he would not have police going door to door to round up those banned firearms.
O’Rourke’s recent stance on guns has been contrasted against his gun stance when running for Senate in Texas against Republican Senator Ted Cruz. At the time of his 2018 run, O’Rourke told AR-15s owners to “keep it, continued to use it responsibly.”
Robert Francis O'Rourke running for office last year in the state of Texas: "To be clear they should have [AR-15s], if you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it, continue to use it responsibly."
Beto is a fraud that will say anything to get electedpic.twitter.com/kckco2EIih
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 13, 2019
By contrast, during his Tuesday night remarks, O’Rourke said each of the estimated 16 million AR-15s and AK-47s in the country is a “potential instrument of terror.”