Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke defended his call for mandatory buybacks of certain semi-automatic weapons in an exclusive interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday, pushing back on criticism from Republicans — as well as some from within his own party — who think the Democratic presidential hopeful’s proposal has gone too far.
O'Rourke said the opposition to his proposal shows “how screwed up the priorities in Washington D.C. are” while evoking recent, high-profile mass shootings like the one in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, NBC News reports.
“I refuse to even acknowledge the politics or the polling, or the fear or the NRA. That has purchased the complicity and silence of members of Congress,” he said. “And this weak response to a real tragedy in America, 40,000 gun deaths a year, we’ve got to do something about it and I'm proposing we do something about it.”
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O’Rourke's plan would ban weapons classified as “assault weapons” as well as high-capacity magazines and silencers. It would also mandate that people who own weapons that become illegal under the new policy sell their guns back to the government.
Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, who has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, told CNN on Friday that he thinks the plan plays into the talking point from Republicans that “Democrats are coming for your guns” and said that he thinks the proposal isn’t “wise.”