O'Rourke calls on other 2020 Democrats to sign on to gun plan

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is calling on his fellow 2020 primary opponents to sign onto the March for Our Lives plan that outlines a progressive gun reform policy agenda. 

“So we’re left with a choice. We can stick by what we’ve been doing — playing it safe, while we beg Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE to take action on the floor of Congress. Or we can follow the lead of the students marching for their lives and for all of ours, who are demanding we do more to protect them,” the former Texas congressman wrote in an op-ed published in Teen Vogue on Monday. 

“I choose the kids. And the question I have for my fellow Democrats in this race and in Congress is: Do you?”ADVERTISEMENT

The “Peace Plan for a Safer America” calls for a mandatory buyback program of assault-style weapons. O’Rourke has been an outspoken advocate for such a proposal since a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people at a Walmart. 

Several other 2020 primary candidates back a buyback program, but O’Rourke is the only candidate to sign onto the March for Our Lives plan, according to his campaign. 

The March for Our Lives movement was started by survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., It inspired marches across the country. 

O’Rourke, in his op-ed, recalls marching with his son Henry on his shoulders in the El Paso march. 

“As we finished marching, we were met by counter-protesters flaunting AR-15s. And when Henry saw them, he asked me why they were there — because, in his mind, assault weapons didn’t belong at a March For Our Lives,” O’Rourke wrote. 

“I told him he didn’t have anything to worry about. ‘Just ignore them,’ I said. But when an alleged white supremacist killed 22 people in my hometown of El Paso with a similar weapon, I realized I was wrong and Henry was right,” he added. 

O’Rourke’s op-ed was published before a gun safety forum co-hosted by March for Our Lives that will feature 10 Democratic presidential candidates on Wednesday. 

Along with O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (N.J.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.), Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (Minn.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (Mass.) and businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE will participate. 

Gun reform activists have been pushing for Congress to pass a universal background check bill in the wake of mass shootings across the country over the summer. 

The House passed a universal background check bill in February but it has yet to be called for a vote in the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has shifted the focus to the White House, saying he will only call a bill to a vote that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE will sign. Trump has wavered on his support over such a reform measure.

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