Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor and 2020 presidential hopeful, refused Sunday to say if he would support a buyback program for so-called assault weapons if elected president, during an interview with CNN.
The Democrat appeared on "State of the Union," where host Jake Tapper asked why he wouldn't join fellow presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke in supporting such a measure.
"Beto O’Rourke supports mandatory buybacks for so-called assault weapons... You've stopped short of that," Tapper said. "But, if you think so-called assault weapons don’t belong in our neighborhoods... why wouldn’t you support mandatory buybacks of assault weapons?”
Buttigieg said America has a long way to go on gun control and mentioned background checks, red-flag laws, and a high-capacity magazine ban, but did not address the issue of buybacks whatsoever.
"Well, I think we've got a lot of work to do right now on the basics," he replied. "Universal background checks, red-flag laws, a ban on new sales of these assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
"Things that the majority, in many cases the vast majority of Americans support -- that still haven’t gotten done. I think we've got some fundamentals we've got to take care of and then we'll work to figure out how to make sure that we’re not forever the only country with more guns than people.”
Buttigieg was one of the first 2020 candidates to issue a public call for gun control in the wake of the shootings earlier this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio. He said at the time, "We cannot allow the Second Amendment to be a death sentence for thousands of Americans a year."
Buttigieg's comments came as gun-control activists held rallies across much of the country Sunday, calling for stricter federal gun laws.