Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) comments on gun control in the third Democratic presidential debate Thursday evening propelled the topic to the forefront on Sunday morning, with Democratic guests suggesting his comment that “hell yes, we’re going to take” assault-style rifles could play into GOP hands.
O’Rourke, who has ramped up his rhetoric on gun control in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 22 in his hometown of El Paso, defended the remark, telling NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddKrystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas GOP senator on gun reform: Trump needs to ‘set some guidelines’ on what he’ll sign White House says Trump pressing forward amid escalation of China trade war MORE that concerns about how it would play politically “just [show] how screwed up the priorities in Washington, D.C. are.”
“What’s truly awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart the Saturday before schools starts that next Monday buying their school supplies, innocent of any crime or any threat to this country — in fact living in one of the safest cities in American, El Paso, Texas — hunted down by their ethnicity with a weapon that was designed for use on a battlefield,” O’Rourke added.
O’Rourke’s Democratic presidential opponent, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegOn The Money: Democratic candidates lay into Trump on trade | China exempts US soybeans, pork from tariff hikes | Congress set to ignore Trump’s wall request in stopgap measure Saagar Enjeti rips Harris’s ’empty promises’ Overnight Defense: Afghanistan tops foreign policy issues at Dem debate | Erdogan says he’ll discuss missile sale with Trump | US again challenges Beijing’s claim to South China Sea MORE, told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN, NY Times to host next Democratic debate in October Saagar Enjeti rips Harris over response to questioner’s mental disability remark Pompeo says canceled Taliban meeting was attempt at peace, Democrats attack ‘bizarre’ plan MORE the moment could potentially be used against Democrats by Republicans, simply responding “yes” when Tapper asked if it could play into GOP hands.
Buttigieg added that the focus should be on more popular positions such as universal background checks and new assault weapon sales.
“This is a golden moment to do something, we’ve been arguing about this for as long as I’ve bene alive” he said. “Let’s get this done.”
Rep. David Cicicilline (D-R.I.) told “Fox News Sunday” guest host Bill Hemmer that O’Rourke’s comment “doesn’t help” but added that no gun-related legislation in the Democratic House has included mandatory buybacks, adding that the priority should instead be universal background checks.
“We know background checks work,” he added. “We have to do something, the American people are demanding we do something … I grew up and we did fire drills, that was the scariest thing we did, now young children are doing active shooter drills.”
Counselor to the President Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayMerriam-Webster: A 200-year-old dictionary offers hot political takes on Twitter Condoleezza Rice: Trump needs separate secretary of State, national security adviser Trump says Pompeo not under consideration to replace Bolton MORE, meanwhile, referenced the comment to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump’s aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE’s apparent backtrack on strengthening background checks.
“We’re not going to allow bad actors who should not have firearms in the first place to be the excuse for a bunch of liberals and socialists to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens who have legally procured them,” Conway told “Fox News Sunday” guest host Bill Hemmer.
“I’m not going to allow people who are constantly maligning and deriding our law enforcement to be in charge of public safety [and] public policy,” Conway added.