Beto Splits from Radical Dems on Gun Rights; Conservatives Skeptical

‘I just don’t think that we need to sell any more weapons of war into this public…’

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Former congressman—and current presidential hopeful—Robert Francis O’Rourke (“Beto” in Spanish nicknamery) said he doesn’t think AR-15s, which he called “weapons of war,” should be available on the market but would not attempt to confiscate those of legal gun-owners.

The Texas Democrat, who lost his Senate bid to incumbent and Cuban descendant Ted Cruz last November, said in an interview with Lubbock radio station KFYO that although he’d allow Americans who currently own AR-15s to keep their firearms, he’d ban the sale of these guns if elected.

“If you own an AR-15, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly and safely,” O’Rourke said. “I just don’t think that we need to sell any more weapons of war into this public.”

With several radical, socialist-leaning Democrats in the crowded primary field, the comment from O’Rourke—who formally declared his candidacy last week—may signal an effort to pitch himself as more of a moderate.

It follows a growing movement in conservative areas to declare themselves “2nd Amendment sanctuaries” from oppressive liberal gun restrictions.

“I think Texas has real opportunity to lead on this issue right now,” O’Rourke said. “Because we so jealously guard that 2nd Amendment. We believe in it. We defend it. We have this proud, rich tradition of hunting, of owning guns for sport collection, for self-defense. We also have a really deep understanding of gun safety and the deep responsibility that comes with owning that gun.”

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently moved to pass a bill mandating universal background checks, even in sales between individuals.

It was unlikely to clear the Senate.

Conservatives slammed O’Rourke for suggesting lawfully-owned guns are “weapons,” and noted that if he had his way, O’Rourke would likely back progressives’ attempts to ban AR-15s altogether.

“This will appeal to his base: young people who are uninformed about the difference between an automatic and semiautomatic rifle. But go out and get your second AR-15 today. Maybe it’s a good reason to do so,” Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth said on Sunday.

O’Rourke, however, said he believes AR-15s are designed for military use, not for civilians.

“AR-15s were designed and sold to the military in the first place because it is so good, so efficient, so effective at killing people, and in [as] great a number as possible,” he said.