Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Beto O'Rourke: 'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47'

Beto O'Rourke is not mincing his words on gun control.

After seeing a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, the former congressman has become the loudest — and most expletive-laden — voice for gun control in the 2020 race. And when the topic came up at Thursday night's primary debate, O'Rourke gave a visceral case for why he's planning to institute mandatory assault weapon buybacks if elected.

When ABC News' David Muir on Thursday bluntly asked O'Rourke if he was "proposing taking away [Americans'] guns," O'Rourke responded "I am, if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people." He then gave a gruesome description of what happened to victims in the El Paso and Odessa, Texas shootings, and again said "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47." That mirrors how, when asked right after the shooting if he would assure voters that he wouldn't take away their assault weapons, he said "that's exactly what we're going to do."

Politico's Blake Hounshell saw another consequence of O'Rourke's words: That he's effectively throwing another Senate bid in the trash. Kathryn Krawczyk