Mayor Pete Loses it on Beto O’Rourke During Gun Debate: ‘I Don’t Need Lessons in Courage From You’


South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg got into it with former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke over guns, and delivered an outraged response to O’Rourke’s non-challenge of his courage.

At Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, moderator Anderson Cooper pressed O’Rourke to explain how he would enforce the mandatory assault weapons buyback that he has proposed.

O’Rourke first repeated his prior assertions that it would not be necessary to go “door to door,” and that he expected Americans to follow the law, but when pressed, he said “If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, as we saw when we were at Kent State recently, then that weapon will be taken from them.”

Cooper then reminded Mayor Pete of his recent slap at O’Rourke over the policy, which he characterized as a bid for relevance, and asked Buttigieig for his response to O’Rourke’s answer.

“Well, Congressman, you just made it clear that you don’t know how this is actually going to take weapons off the streets,” Buttigieig said, adding “If you can develop the plan further, I think we can have debate about it.”

“But we can’t wait,” he continued, describing policies that have broader support than buybacks. “We cannot wait for purity tests, we have to just get something done.”

“This is not a purity test,” O’Rourke said. “This is a country that loses 40,000 of our fellow Americans every year to gun violence. This is a crisis, and we’ve got to do something about it, and those challenges they described are not mutually exclusive to the challenges that I am describing.”

He expressed support for other policies, but shouted out groups like Moms Demand Action and March 4 Our Lives for coming up with the buyback plan.

“Let’s follow their inspirational lead, and not be limited by the polls and the consultants and the focus groups, let’s do what’s right while we have time to do what’s right,” O’Rourke said.

“The problem isn’t the polls, the problem is the policy,” Buttigieg said, adding “And I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.”

“Everyone on this stage is determined to get something done. Everyone on this stage recognizes, or at least I thought we did, that the problem is not other Democrats who don’t agree with your particular idea of how to handle this, the problem is the National Rifle Association and their enablers in Congress, and we should be united in taking the fight to them,” he added.

O’Rourke pointed out that he “never took you or anyone else on who disagreed with me on this issue, but when you… describe this policy as a shiny object, I don’t care what that meant to me or my candidacy, but to those who have survived gun violence, those who have lost a loved one to an AR-15 and an AK-47, March 4 Our Lives formed in the courage of students willing to stand up to the NRA and conventional politics and poll-tested politicians, that was a slap in the face to every single one of those groups, and every single survivor of a mass casualty assault with an AR-15 and an AK-47.”

Mandatory buybacks are not as broadly popular as other gun reform proposals, but poll at around an even split.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

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