Beto O’Rourke vowed to confiscate legally owned rifles during the third Democratic primary debate on Thursday evening.
Citing the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the former Democratic congressman said the federal government must seize certain semi-automatic rifles to prevent further tragedy.
“The high-impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything insider your body because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on the battlefield,” O’Rourke said to raucous applause.
“When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he added. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”
O’Rourke went on to argue that his gun confiscation plan enjoys the support of the majority of voters, including those who reside in traditionally red states.
“Folks who said, I would give that up, cut it to pieces, I don’t need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war, so, let’s do the right thing, but let’s bring everyone in America into the conversation,” he said.
Hours before the debate, O’Rourke urged major financial institutions not to finance gun transactions.
“However inadvertent or deliberate, credit card companies and banks profit off of those who terrorize our communities,” O’Rourke said in an email to voters on Thursday. “And we know that in this moment, no one can sit on the sidelines. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part.”
O’Rourke released an ambitious gun control plan last month that would create a national gun registry, and ban assault-style rifles, bump-stocks, silencers, and magazines that hold more than ten rounds.