(Appearing on MSNBC Friday morning, O'Rourke said he expects most Americans would comply with the law, if one is passed requiring them to surrender their "weapons of war." He ruled out door-to-door confiscation of weapons, but he said gun owners "would be required" to comply with a gun control law that is crafted in conjunction with police chiefs and Congress. As the saying goes -- "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.")
(CNSNews.com) - All the Democrat presidential candidates favor an "assault weapons" ban, but few have gone as far as Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke, who said on the debate stage Thursday night that he fully intends to "take your AR-15, your AK-47."
Moderator David Muir mentioned the recent mass shooting in El Paso, O'Rourke's hometown. "You've said, quote, 'Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell them to the government, all of them.' You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"
"I am," O'Rourke responded, referring to "taking away" guns.
If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a 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.
When we see that being used against children -- and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and 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 -- hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.
He was cheered for the remarks.
O'Rourke said he recently went to a gun show in Arkansas to meet with people who were buying and selling AR-15s and AK-47s. "And you might be surprised, there was some common ground there, folks who said, I would willingly give that up, cut it to pieces, I don't need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war.
"So, let's do the right thing, but let's bring everyone in America into the conversation, Republicans, Democrats, gun-owners, and non-gun owners alike," O'Rourke concluded.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that all ten Democrats on the stage favor an "assault weapons ban" and magazine limits. "I personally think we should start with a voluntary buyback program," she said.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has called for gun licensing. But given the opportunity two times, he could not name a single Republican colleague who would go along with his licensing proposal. He did promise to "bring a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) endorsed gun registration, meaning the government would have a list of who owns what. Her solution is to "roll back the filibuster" in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to get anything passed. It's not clear how Warren, as president, would have any input into Senate rules.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) nixed Warren's filibuster idea. But he does support the passage of "major gun legislation," through budget reconciliation, which allows a simple majority.
"And as president, I will not be intimidated by the NRA," he promised.
Vice President Joe Biden told the nation, "Over 90 percent of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street — period. And we have to get buy-backs and get them out of their basements."
Biden made the point that times have changedand public opinion increasingly favors gun control.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) says she would ban assault weapons by executive order, but Biden has said a president doesn't have the constitutional authority to do that:
"Does the vice president have a point there?" moderator Muir asked Harris.
"Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no we can't, let's say yes we can," Harris replied, laughing.
"Let's be constitutional," Biden said. "We've got a Constitution."
Harris also dinged Trump in her response, saying "He didn't pull the trigger" in El Paso, "but he's certainly been tweeting out the ammunition."