Arguing for a mandatory buyback of assault weapons, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke declared during Thursday night’s presidential debate, “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, AK-47.”
The line from the former congressman from Texas received loud applause from the audience at the third-round debate, which was held in Houston.
Answering Republicans' argument that Democrats will take away people’s weapons, O’Rourke said that “we’re not going to allow them to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
In the wake of multiple deadly mass shootings last month, including two in Texas, many of the Dem candidates stepped up their calls for the federal government to start buying back assault-style weapons from owners – with some of the White House hopefuls urging mandatory buybacks.
O'Rourke was among the candidates to recently declare, “Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell their assault weapons.”
O'Rourke's campaign quickly took to Twitter to fundraiser off the debate moment. Showing the picture of an assault weapon, the campaign tweeted "Beto has a plan for that."
O’Rourke was complimented by his rivals on the debate stage for his outspoken efforts on the issue of gun violence. He suspended his campaign last month and returned to his home town of El Paso after a mass shooting there that left 22 people dead and many more injured. O’Rourke has made stemming gun violence an integral part of his campaign.