Former Texas representative and current Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told people watching the debate on Thursday, Sept. 12: “Hell yes! we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
O’Rourke has endorsed confiscating guns, though he claimed this week that such a plan would not require police officers going “door to door.”
Pressed on how he’d enforce the plan if it were passed, he replied, “How do you—how do we enforce any law? There’s a significant reliance on people complying with the law. You know that a law is not created in a vacuum.”
O’Rourke’s declaration on Thursday clashed with his own words from last year when he said during an appearance on KFYO: “If you purchased that AR-15 if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.”
At the debate, O’Rourke was answering a question on whether he’d force Americans to give up their guns.
“I am if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield. If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body—because it was designed to do that—so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield. And not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers,” he said.
He recalled the mother of a 15-year-old girl he met in Odessa, Texas, after the mass shooting there. The girl was shot by a man wielding an AR-15.
“That mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he said.
That’s when he said the “hell yes” phrase, adding, “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”