Washington, DC – Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke doubled-down on his plan to take legally-owned “weapons of war” away from U.S. citizens and said he would send police door-to-door to take the guns away.
O’Rourke has focused much of his campaign’s time and attention on promising to ban all “assault-style” rifles, such as the popular AR-15s, because they have been used in several mass shootings in the United States.
However, the candidate has been wishy-washy until now as to how he would actually take the guns out of the hands of their owners who purchased the weapons legally.
At first, O’Rourke claimed that American gun owners would “do the right thing” and turn in their guns if the laws were changed during his administration, the Washington Examiner reported.
But his opponents and members of the media have repeatedly asked the Presidential candidate how he would confiscate the guns that people did not give up voluntarily.
On Wednesday, O’Rourke told MSNBC that under his administration, AR-15s would be taken away by force, if necessary.
“To be clear, I’m not talking about confiscating anybody’s guns,” he said. “But I do think that for those weapons of war – AR-15s, AK-47s – these were designed and sold to the militaries of the world to kill people on the battlefield and there are more than 16 million of them in America, and we’ve seen the devastating effect they can have in Dayton, Ohio or El Paso, Texas, or Odessa, not too far from where I live. Those must be bought back or each of them are potentially an instrument of terror in this country.”
O’Rourke continued to insist that law-abiding citizens would willingly turn in their guns.
And for those who don’t voluntarily give up their “assault rifles,” he told MSNBC there would be consequences.
"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. "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."
He failed to address how he would convince police officers to carry out his plan.
He continued to claim that people who own AR-15s and AR-47s have told him they don’t need their guns and they’re willing to give them up.
"My faith is in this country and in my fellow Americans following the law and listening to people who own AK-47s and AR-15s who acknowledge, who concede, they don’t need it for self-protection," the candidate said. "They don’t need it to hunt. Its real, true purpose and use is on a battlefield."
"When you talk to the people of Dayton, who saw nine gunned down in under 40 seconds, or in El Paso, 22 killed in under three minutes, it’s hard to answer their question as to why this continues to happen or why we would continue to allow more than 16 million of these weapons in our country,” he said.
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O’Rourke cited Australia as an example of successful gun ban without a door-to-door confiscation.
"We also have an example in Australia where those weapons of war were successfully bought back without going to a door-to-door confiscation - and where you’ve seen a dramatic reduction in gun violence and a dramatic reduction in mass shootings in that country," he claimed.
When it was pointed out that 70 percent of gun deaths in the United States are as a result of handguns, not so-called “weapons of war,” O’Rourke said he wouldn’t try to take away Americans’ handguns.
He told MSNBC there was a significant difference between the kind of damage handguns do inside the body and what “assault rifles” do inside the body.
Instead, O’Rourke insisted that “national system of universal background checks complemented with red flag laws” was the solution to the nation’s gun violence problem.
He also said the Founding Fathers never conceived of the kind of weapons we have today so the U.S. Constitution shouldn’t apply.