Gun control featured prominently in the third Democratic debate in Houston, with most of the 10 candidates trying to one-up each other on the issue while also jabbing repeatedly at President Trump.
The Democratic White House hopefuls gathered on stage at Texas Southern University, a historically black college about 700 miles from El Paso, where 22 people died in an August shooting massacre, and 500 miles from Midland-Odessa, where eight people died weeks later in another rampage. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress, won praise from many of his rivals for his leadership after tragedy shook his hometown.
O’Rourke offered some of the most memorable rhetoric over gun control, including calls to confront the National Rifle Association. O’Rourke, 46, also used the nationally televised platform to reiterate his unabashed plan for a mandatory firearm buyback program.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” the former lawmaker said.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who describes himself as the only senator “who goes home to a low-income inner-city community,” in an impassioned monologue vowed to “bring a fight to the NRA and corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before.” After a tussle between former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris on the constitutionality of firearm control executive orders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the abolition of the Senate filibuster, arguing action will continue to be stymied unless the procedural rule is rolled back.