- Days before the shooting in Texas, Beto O’Rourke campaigned hard against the use of AR-15 rifles.
- O’Rourke said AR-15s and AK-47s are “weapons of war” that are “designed to kill humans.”
- He also said that those who currently own such firearms shouldn’t be allowed to keep them.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke campaigned against firearms like AR-15 rifles in the days before the mass school shooting in Uvalde, arguing that such “weapons of war” have no place in society.
O’Rourke spoke at two separate campaign events on May 21, just days before the shooting on May 24.
At the events, he reiterated his stance on weapons like the AR-15, which was used by the Uvalde gunman to fatally shoot 21 people, including 19 children, at the Robb Elementary School.
“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 said while speaking to veterans at a town hall meeting in Abilene, Texas.
“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.”
O’Rourke said as much while speaking to a separate group of veterans in San Angelo that same day.
At this event, O’Rourke said he knew he had taken a politically unpopular stance against such guns but was forging ahead with it anyway.
“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 maybe too honest, that only should no one be able to purchase an AR-15 or an AK-47,” he said. “Because they’re designed to kill humans.”
O’Rourke then added that he did not think that current owners of AR-15s should be allowed to keep them. He added that he was hoping to find a “consensus” about whether AR-15s should be legal or not.
O’Rourke has long held the stance that people should not be able to possess AR-15s. He is known for famously declaring that he would confiscate AR-15s during a debate in 2019 when he was running for president.
He also made headlines when he confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference after the Uvalde shooting, accusing Abbott of “doing nothing” to stop gun violence.