MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke says a mandatory government buyback program for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles is needed because other gun control measures don’t do enough to remove weapons already on the streets.
O’Rourke spoke Thursday at Tufts University in his first campaign stop in Massachusetts. He said that while other measures like universal background checks and red flag laws that allow guns to be removed from those deemed a danger to themselves or others will save lives, neither will address the millions of assault weapons already in private hands.
He said the country needs to take what he calls the “necessary, though politically difficult step” of buying back the weapons.
Last month, a gunman killed nearly two dozen people in O’Rourke’s El Paso, Texas, hometown using an AK-style rifle.
This story has been corrected to show that O’Rourke wants a buyback for AR-15, not AR-19, rifles.