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O’Rourke: AR-15 Owners Should ‘Not Be Able to Keep Them’

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Beto O'Rourke | Image by KVUE

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Just days before the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke hosted two different town halls where he said owners of semiautomatic rifles, like AR-15s, should not “be able to keep them.”

“I think we are fools to believe anything other than that these weapons of war will [continue] to be used with greater frequency against our fellow Americans,” O’Rourke told a group of veterans during a town hall meeting in Abilene on May 21.


“It’s why I’ve taken the position that I don’t think we should have AR-15s and AK-47s in civilian life,” he said. “They belong on a battlefield.”

Earlier that day, O’Rourke hosted another group of veterans in San Angelo, where he again affirmed that AR-15s have no place in civilian life. He suggested that he is open to confiscating semiautomatic rifles from their owners.

“My kids are my conscience,” he said. “And I may win or lose this race, but I’m always going to have to face them and answer for what I’ve done or failed to do when I had the chance to do something. And I just took the position that may not be politically popular or may be too honest: that [no one should] be able to purchase an AR-15 or an AK-47 because they’re designed to kill humans and that high-impact, high-velocity round will just tear up everything inside you. You’ll bleed out before we can get you back to life.”

“But I don’t think that the people who have them right now in civilian use should be able to keep them,” he added.

O’Rourke has repeatedly changed his positions on gun control, specifically gun confiscation, during his multiple campaigns for elected office.

During his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2019, he famously declared, “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15” in front of a crowd at Texas Southern University. O’Rourke stood by that position as recently as November 2021, but he took a more moderate stance in February.

“I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. What I want to make sure that we do is defend the Second Amendment,” he told reporters. “I want to make sure that we protect our fellow Texans far better than we’re doing right now.”

However, following the Uvalde school shooting last week, it was observed that O’Rourke’s campaign website had been altered sometime after April 1 to read that no civilian “should own an AR-15 or AK-47.” Previously, the wording called for the “decrease” of AR-15s in circulation.

In a June 1 town hall in Dallas, O’Rourke indicated he would support the ending of sales of AR-15s but acknowledged that it is not politically popular in Texas.

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mj reilly
mj reilly
3 months ago

per the “red flag” laws…no way should this man have any type of gun.

margaret barrett
margaret barrett
3 months ago

Mr. Beto, you are right. The AR 15’s belong in the hands of the military, Period. I would favor gun buy backs for that particular gun and send all to the military Also, re-instate the sale of said guns that was lifted and make it permanent.