NRA and Beto O’Rourke release competing petitions on gun buybacks
Published 5:13 PM EDT Sep 18, 2019
The National Rifle Association has issued a petition asking its supporters to say “Hell no” to former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke’s gun buyback plan.
O’Rourke, who is running for president, made waves on both sides of the political aisle when he said at the last Democratic primary debate, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
O’Rourke also released a T-shirt on his campaign site with the slogan. The NRA called the shirt “shameful.”
Part of his gun violence prevention policy proposal outlines a buyback program in which gun owners would be required to sell certain weapons back to the government. The buyback for other types of handguns would be optional.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action released a petition asking its supporters to “Tell Beto NO on Gun Confiscation.”
More: Beto O’Rourke tells Trump to ‘do the right thing’ as the two feud over guns
“Let’s send a message to Beto and all the other gun-grabbers that they will never, ever take away our firearms,” the petition reads.
In response, O’Rourke tweeted out his own petition in support of the buyback.
“But the @NRA doesn’t represent the American people—and today, we can prove it,” O’Rourke tweeted.
“This is not going to be politically easy. But this campaign is focused on doing what is right, not what people tell us is possible,” O’Rourke’s petition reads.
An NRA spokesperson said the “Tell Beto NO” petition received just over 10,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. Representatives from O’Rourke’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for the number of petition respondents.
The petitions are the latest in a series of back-and-forths between O’Rourke and his detractors over gun control. Fellow Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said that O’Rourke’s plan threatens to stall progress with Republicans on supporting gun control.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, too, said of O’Rourke’s debate remarks, “that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns.”
President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that “Dummy Beto” O’Rourke was making it harder to reach a compromise on gun control.
To that, O’Rourke responded: “The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic is you & your cowardice. Do the right thing.”
O’Rourke’s hometown is El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting claimed the lives of 22 people last month in one of two shootings in that state. The other was in Odessa, Texas.