Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has been an outspoken supporter of gun control and brought that issue to the stage during the Democratic debate in Houston saying, “hell yes we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

He said he supports a mandatory buyback program, because the weapons were designed “so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.”

O’Rourke emphasized that he thinks those military-grade guns have no place outside of the battlefield. After speaking with AR-15 and AK-47 purchasers and merchants at a gun show in Conway, Arkansas, he believes a buyback program is a viable solution.

“You might be surprised there was some common ground there,” said O’Rourke. “Folks who said I would willing give that up, cut it to pieces I don’t need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war.”

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As a native of El Paso, gun control is a personal issue for O’Rourke. On Aug. 3, a shooter killed 22 people and injured 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso. He had used an AK-style rifle.

In an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle, O’Rourke wrote that assault weapons “should remain on the battlefield where they belong — because as long as we keep selling them in our communities, they will keep showing up in our school.”

The majority of Americans do not support the measure, which is more aggressive than other, more popular initiatives, such as universal background checks.

A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that only 45% of Americans are in favor Congress passing legislation for a mandatory buyback program.


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