Sep 18, 2019

Beto O'Rourke's plan to turn voters into gun safety activists

Beto O'Rourke at a march protesting gun violence in El Paso, Aug. 4. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Beto O'Rourke is organizing a 5-state campaign "to activate the country’s next wave of gun safety advocates" ahead of the Giffords/March for Our Lives presidential forum on Oct. 2, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: After the Aug. 3 El Paso shooting that killed 22, O'Rourke has made gun violence his campaign's top priority — and that's one way to differentiate himself from the rest of the field and paint a clearer picture to voters of why he's running.

Details: The campaign is deploying staff in Texas, South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa to turn "Beto for America" volunteers and voters into activists against gun violence. Their goals include:

  • Connecting campaign organizers with local prevention organizations.
  • Mobilizing voters to call on credit card companies to stop enabling the sale of assault weapons. (O'Rourke was the first 2020 Democrat to support this measure.)
  • Educating these voters and volunteers on O'Rourke's gun violence prevention policy platform so they can share that with others in their community.

By the numbers: O'Rourke's campaign says there are "390 million guns in America, outnumbering the 329 million people in this country." About 9 in 10 Democrats said they favor stricter gun laws, and a clear majority of overall voters favored an assault weapons ban in a Quinnipiac University poll last month.

The bottom line: O'Rourke's leadership on gun safety may be his best prospect to regain momentum in his quest for the Democratic nomination, where he is stuck around 3% in the latest Real Clear Politics national average.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.