Beto O’Rourke, who is leading the charge among Democratic presidential candidate for confiscating military-style firearms, indicated he is open to AR-15 rifles being used for hunting.
“I know there are alternative rifles, but the AR-15 is much more efficient at, like, a deer,” a student in Des Moines, Iowa, told O’Rourke on Friday, explaining that not killing an animal immediately causes suffering for the animal and spoils its meat.
“So, this is the first time that I’ve heard the case made for using an AR-15 to hunt deer,” O’Rourke said. “I’ve heard feral hogs in Texas, which are a real problem, a lot of ranches and the farms in my home state.”
O’Rourke then offered a compromise.
“Perhaps a way to address a legitimate concern or need is to ensure that those who have or want to use an AR-15 are able to keep it at a hunting club or at a gun range so that there is some control and safeguards still placed on that firearm,” he said.
A student in Des Moines today told @BetoORourke that he hunts using an AR-15, arguing it’s less painful for the animal.
O’Rourke said maybe those who want to use an AR-15 to hunt “could keep it at a hunting club or at a gun range,” & committed to listening to all points of view pic.twitter.com/RqGuqtdHEE
— Maura Barrett (@MauraBarrettNBC) October 25, 2019
The former Texas representative made confiscation of military-style assault weapons a cornerstone of his campaign following an August mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said in a September Democratic primary debate.
O’Rourke also said Friday that those who do not comply with confiscation will face “consequences in the criminal code.”
During the October debate, O’Rourke his criticized rival candidate South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for opposing “mandatory buybacks” of assault-style weapons after Buttigieg said he favors gun control measures that are more easily achieved, such as focusing on expanding background checks.
“This is not a purity test. This is a crisis. We’ve got to do something about it. Those challenges you described are not mutually exclusive to the challenges that I’m discussing,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke did not support gun confiscation during his highly publicized 2018 Senate campaign.
“If you have an AR-15, keep it. I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away from them,” O’Rourke said in August 2018. “I’m not for taking guns away from people,” he said at another point that year.
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