A year before he said, “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15,” Beto O’Rourke promised gun owners that they could keep their firearms if they already had them.
Appearing on “The Chad Hasty Show” in April 2018, O’Rourke was pressed over his gun control plans.
“I own an AR-15. A lot of our listeners out there own AR-15s. Why should they not have one?” the host asked.
“To be clear, they should have them,” O’Rourke responded. “If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.”
O’Rourke said that Texans “so jealously guard the Second Amendment” but “also have a really deep understanding of gun safety.”
“Doesn’t that punish the responsible gun owner?” asked Hasty. “Isn’t it punishing the good guys who are out there, the majority?”
“I don’t think so, and again, we support the Second Amendment. If you own a gun, keep that gun. Nobody wants to take it away from you—at least I don’t want to do that,” O’Rourke responded.
O’Rourke was a candidate for U.S. Senate at the time. He lost to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
O’Rourke has ramped up his push to ban some guns in recent weeks, citing the mass shooting in El Paso, part of the district he represented as a U.S. representative.
Moderator David Muir asked him at the debate on Sept. 12 whether his proposed gun seizure would be mandatory and O’Rourke then replied, “Hell yes.”
Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
His campaign began selling shirts with the phrase after O’Rourke said it on stage.
O’Rourke’s campaign also took the “I have a plan for that” slogan from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another presidential contender, and changed it to “I have a ban for that.”
Trump campaign officials slammed the debaters.
The president’s director of communications, Tim Murtaugh, wrote on Twitter that O’Rourke “is as desperate as he can be.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said: “So the conclusion to the Democrat debate: We are taking away your healthcare. We are taking away your guns. We are taking away your paycheck. A vote for any of these Democrats is a vote to eliminate your freedom!”
Cruz also chipped in, noting he had said before that O’Rourke wants to seize Americans’ guns, but that the statement was rated false by a fact-checking website.
Just a reminder, when I said it, PolitiFact (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC) rated “Beto wants to take our guns” as FALSE. Maybe they should buy one of his new t-shirts…. https://t.co/GqDbk4q272 https://t.co/EnnyDXL3xk
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 13, 2019