Presidential debate: Beto O'Rourke warns gun owners of 'consequences' if they do not turn in their guns

Presidential debate: Beto O'Rourke warns gun owners of 'consequences' if they do not turn in their guns
Beto O'Rourke (Getty Images)

Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke has been strongly promoting buying back guns from Americans in a bid to curb the menace that claims several lives every year and on Tuesday, October 15, he even went on to say at the fourth Democratic presidential debate in Ohio that those who refuse to turn in their weapons will face “consequences”. 

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the moderators at the debate, asked O’Rourke about his plan to buy back the guns. He told the representative that the latter didn’t vouch for the police going from door to door to take back the machines in the mandatory buyback program in the last debate. So, how was he going to force people to give up the weapons?

To this, O’Rourke said he expected the Americans to follow the law, the same way that other legal provisions are enforced. “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,” he said.


Liz Gomez listens as Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosts a press conference with community activists, local politicians and families of gun violence victims to urge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign a gun legislation bill that has been approved by the Illinois House and Senate on March 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The legislation calls for the licensing of gun dealers in the state and would require background checks for gun shop employees. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The moderator was not convinced with the Texas Democrat’s reply and he said: “Congressman, just to follow up, your expectations aside, your website says you will fine people who don’t give up their weapons. That doesn’t take those weapons off the street. So to be clear, exactly how are you going to take away weapons from people who do not want to give them up and you don’t know where they are?”

It was then when O’Rourke said if people persisted with keeping the AR-15s or AK-47s and brandishing them to intimidate others, there will be consequences from the law enforcement. He reiterated that the people of the US will follow the law and “do the right thing”.

O’Rourke’s proposal of a mandatory buyback program has so far found a split audience. But his assertion on gun control at the debate saw a harsh response from others, particularly South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 


'I don't need lessons from you on courage'

He told O’Rourke that the latter didn’t know how his plan was going to see the weapons going off the public space. “I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal. The problem is not other Democrats who don’t agree with your particular idea of how to handle this. The problem is the National Rifle Association and their enablers in Congress, and we should be united in taking the fight to them,” Buttigieg said. O’Rourke then hit back at his rival, accusing him of minimizing the problem of gun violence and the toll it takes on the victims of mass shootings. 

O’Rourke, who has been strongly promoting his gun-reform idea following the shooting in El Paso, Texas, in August, also brought up the insulting term that Buttigieg had used while describing his policy at a gun-safety forum in Las Vegas earlier this month. Buttigieg called O’Rourke’s plan a “shiny object”. 

“When you, mayor, describe this policy as a shiny object, I don’t care what that meant to me or my candidacy,” O’Rourke said.

The idea of police rounding up the weapons from each home found disapproval from Julian Castro, the former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development who is also one of the runners this time. He said he was not in favor of giving the law-keepers another reason to go door to door, especially in places and among communities where he grew up. Castro is also born in Texas like O’Rourke.


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