Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas took aim at Meghan McCain on Wednesday, saying that she was effectively giving gun owners “permission” to act out violently.
O’Rourke spoke with The Daily Beast just ahead of his appearance on CNN’s climate change town hall event and responded to McCain’s comments from ABC’s “The View” earlier in the week. McCain, during a discussion about mandatory buybacks for “assault weapons,” had said that enforcing such a buyback could lead to violence if gun owners were not willing to part with their firearms. (RELATED: Meghan McCain Blasts Co-Hosts On ‘The View’: ‘I’m Not Living Without Guns’)
“I just I think that kind of language and rhetoric is not helpful. It becomes self-fulfilling; you have people on TV who are almost giving you permission to be violent and saying, ‘You know this is going to happen,” O’Rourke began.
“When someone says, ‘If you do this, then this will happen,’ it’s almost as though that’s a natural response or maybe even something that should happen or deserves to happen,” O’Rourke explained further. “When I think the response should be, ‘We’re doing nothing now and we’re seeing people slaughtered in their schools, at work, at a Walmart, in a synagogue, in a church, at a concert. There is violence right now and it is horrifying and it is terrifying and it is terrorizing’ … We should be worried about that kind of violence right now.”
McCain responded to O’Rourke in a tweet Thursday, saying, “Beto is the only man in all of Texas who would revise ‘Come and Take It’ to ‘Please, Come and Take It.’”
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) September 5, 2019
O’Rourke has confirmed on more than one occasion that his plan to combat gun violence would include a mandatory buyback program. He has not indicated how he would enforce such a program.