2020 presidential candidate and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke endorsed a federal mandatory gun buyback program Monday after back-to-back weekend shootings in Ohio and Texas that killed 31 people.
The Texas Democrat announced his support for the program, which requires gun owners to sell firearms deemed illegal back to the government at a market price, on former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau’s “Pod Save America” podcast.
“I’m open to them right now as a candidate — absolutely has to be part of the conversation,” O’Rourke told Favreau of the policy. “At the end of the day, if it’s going to save lives, if it’s going to prevent the kind of tragedies that we saw in El Paso, or Gilroy, or Dayton, or this weekend in Chicago, or all over this country on a daily basis, then let’s move forward and do it.”
In the interview, O’Rourke also said he would support ending the Senate filibuster to pass gun legislation.
Other 2020 White House hopefuls have also voiced their support for ending the filibuster. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have both said the filibuster is an unnecessary tool of the past.
O’Rourke is not alone in supporting a federal buyback program for firearms. Former Vice President Joe Biden also came out in support of a federal gun buyback program with a ban on “assault weapons” Monday in an interview with CNN.
Australia confiscated approximately 650,000 guns in its mandatory gun buyback program in the 1990s, following a mass shooting that killed 35 people in Tasmania. Experts disagree whether the policy had a significant impact on reducing homicides in the country.