Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke answered one question about guns during a Friday podcast — and his answer is likely to alienate both sides of the debate.
Beto O’Rourke: “If you own an AR-15, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly and safely. I just don’t think that we need to sell anymore weapons of war into this public.” pic.twitter.com/uqMA1jWOTf
— The Hill (@thehill) March 17, 2019
He began by talking about the AR-15, claiming that it was designed for military use and was intended to be a weapon of war. He argued that the “high-impact, high-velocity round” would “blow a hole in your back the size of an orange,” leaving you to bleed out long before anyone could get help to you.
While bullets fired from an AR-15 are certainly lethal from a variety of distances, even Snopes isn’t sure that the orange-sized exit wound is an entirely accurate representation. The size of the exit wound, according to a number of experts, is determined in part by the amount of internal damage and any damaged tissue exiting the body along with the bullet.
But fact-check aside, the first part of O’Rourke’s response appeared to line right up with most who assert that “common-sense gun regulations” means keeping “weapons of war” off the streets. (RELATED: Missouri Rep. Proposes Legislation Requiring ‘Every Citizen’ Aged 18-34 To Own An AR-15)
And then he kept talking.
“Now, if you own an AR-15,” he began, “keep it. Keep using it responsibly and safely.”
Many who oppose the continued sale of the AR-15 also support removing those currently in use — either through buyback programs or confiscation.
An op-ed published in the Durango Herald just two weeks after the Parkland shooting in 2018 called for a specific AR-15 buyback. Just two months later, Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell took it a step further, submitting an op-ed to USA Today titled, “Ban Assault Weapons, Buy Them Back, Go After Resisters.”
O’Rourke concluded by saying that he believed that no more AR-15s should be sold, adding, “I just don’t think that we need to sell anymore weapons of war into this public.”
Those who favor fewer gun regulations are not likely to take kindly to that position. Fox News host Pete Hegseth argued that O’Rourke’s call to stop the sale of the AR-15 was as good an inspiration as any to go out and buy one.
Fox host Pete Hegseth tells viewers to stock up on AR-15s: “Go out and get your second AR-15 today. Maybe it’s a good reason to do so.” pic.twitter.com/YUjC4USzrA
— Media Matters (@mmfa) March 17, 2019