Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke said on Sunday he wanted to protect Second Amendment rights, but that automatic and semi-automatic firearms, as well as laws such as unlicensed carrying , prevent responsible possession of firearms.
The former Democratic presidential and senatorial candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash on “the State of the Union” that Texas has a “long and proud tradition of responsible firearms ownership.” But Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s support for civilians with military-style weapons, now without training or background checks, has threatened that tradition, he said.
“Most of us here in Texas … don’t want to see our friends, our family members, our neighbors being shot at with these weapons of war,” he said. “So yeah, I still have that point of view.”
O’Rourke was responding to a question Bash asked about whether he maintains a post he shared in 2019 while expressing its support for the compulsory repurchases of semi-automatic weapons. He said, “Damn, yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, you won’t be allowed to use it against your fellow Americans anymore. ”
The AR-15s and AK-47s are semi-automatic rifles designed to kill quickly and in large numbers; the AR-15 was used in most of the deadliest shootings in the last decade. Both are available in the United States and there are no federal restrictions on their possession.
“This AR-15, this AK-47 has one purpose, and that is to kill people as efficiently, as efficiently, in as many numbers, in as little time as possible. We saw that at Kenosha. We saw this in El Paso, Texas where 23 people were murdered by someone with an AK-47 within minutes, “O’Rourke said.” It’s crazy. And we shouldn’t expect this to be obvious in America. “
O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, is the new candidate for the state’s gubernatorial race in 2022. Democrats have paid Texas millions of dollars in recent years, but Republicans have maintained their domination. Abbott, who is running for a third term, has established himself as a national figure with his aggressive push for hard right-wing policies – including on subjects such as abortion, the right to vote, vaccines, bail reform and possession of firearms.
On Sunday, O’Rourke introduced a bill that Abbott enacted last summer that effectively allows any civilian to carry a loaded handgun in public without obtaining a license, undergoing training or undergoing a background check . The law essentially eliminates the last remaining rules for adults owning a firearm in public.
Texas has had at least 52 mass shootings so far this year, killing 59 and injuring 213, according to records kept by the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive. By the time Abbott passed the relaxed gun law, Texas had at least 22 mass shootings with 23 dead.
“I also listened to my fellow Texans concerned about this idea of unlicensed port that Greg Abbott enacted, which allows any Texan to carry a loaded firearm, despite pleadings from chiefs of police and law enforcement across the state. , who said it would make their jobs more dangerous and make it more difficult for them to protect those they have sworn to serve in their communities, ”said O’Rourke.
“So we don’t want extremism in our gun laws. We want to protect the Second Amendment. We want to protect the lives of our fellow Texans, ”he said. “And I know that when we come together and stop this divisive extremism that we are seeing from Greg Abbott right now, we can do it.”