Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke doubled down on his plans for a so-called “mandatory buyback” of certain firearms in an interview Thursday night amid criticisms of his gun proposal.
“If we’re able to pass mandatory buyback and I’m able to sign that into law, then I fully expect our fellow Americans to turn in their AR-15s and their AK-47s,” he told CBS News.
“For anyone who does not and is caught in possession or seen in possession of one of these weapons of war or these instruments of terror, that weapon will be taken from them and they will be fined, and if they should persist in continuing to use and to buy these weapons, then there will be other consequences in the criminal code.”
The former Texas representative has been very outspoken about his plans for a “mandatory gun buyback” and his belief that Americans will fully comply with the law without complaint, even though people have criticized his proposal.
“We need to be governed not by polls, but by people who are willing to do what is necessary regardless of its popularity,” O’Rourke said.
“Regardless of the politics of this or how it polls or what other candidates are saying, I’m going to pursue the right thing because it is the right thing to do.”
When asked about financing for the plan, he said that gun manufacturers who continue to sell the specific firearms to the public would be the ones to provide money for this so-called “buyback.”
O’Rourke is currently sitting seventh in the crowded Democratic presidential field with an average of 2.3 percent support, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
Earlier this month, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough pressed O’Rourke to expand on the details of his plan after he said that he expected Americans would surrender their guns if a mandatory “buyback” were to become law during the last debate.
“Let’s say I have an AR-15. I bought it legally five years ago,” Scarborough said. “I’m a law-abiding citizen. You want to buy it back as president of the United States. I say no. You give me other incentives. I say no. ‘I bought this legally. I’m keeping this. I live on a ranch. I need it for protection.’ What would you do then?”
“I don’t know you well, Joe, but I know you well enough to expect you to follow the law, even if it’s a law that you disagree with,” O’Rourke said. “I think it’s one of the things that distinguishes us as a country. We’re a country of laws.”
“OK, let’s just assume that there’s a rancher in Texas that doesn’t, that says, ‘I’m not going to do this because this is an unjust law and it’s unconstitutional.’ What’s the next step?” the MSNBC host said. “I think that’s what we need to concede because there will be people that don’t turn their guns back in.”
“I think just as in any law that is not followed or flagrantly abused, there have to be consequences, or else there is no respect for the law,” O’Rourke said.
“So, in that case, I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back, so that it cannot potentially be used against somebody else.”
Speaking to reporters on a conference call in September, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer suggested O’Rourke’s stance on this issue is not in line with what other Democrats believe.
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