Sep 19, 2019

Schumer dismisses O'Rourke's assault weapon buyback proposal

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that Beto O'Rourke's proposed assault weapon buyback program is unrepresentative of Democratic views, according to Albany's Times Union.

Why it matters: Schumer's dismissal of O'Rourke's proposal signals that some top Democrats are concerned that it could derail ongoing talks about gun control legislation and may allow Republicans to claim during the 2020 election cycle that Democrats intend to take Americans' guns away.

  • "I don't know of any other Democrat who agrees with Beto O'Rourke, but it's no excuse not to go forward," Schumer said on a conference call with New York reporters.

Context: In the Democratic candidate debate last week, O'Rourke said that, if elected, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

  • O'Rourke made gun control central to his campaign after a shooter killed 22 in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

The other side: President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that O'Rourke "made it much harder to make a deal" on gun reforms but that negotiations would continue.

  • Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress is "in a holding pattern” on gun control as it waits for the White House to propose a plan, per the AP.

Go deeper:

Beto finds a winning line

Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Go deeper

Beto ignites split among 2020 Democrats on guns

O’Rourke speaks at the gun forum in Las Vegas Tuesday. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS — Beto O'Rourke's proposal to implement a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons ignited a split among 2020 Democrats at the Giffords/March for Our Lives gun safety forum on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The caution around the issue shows how some in the field are being careful to distance themselves from what they view as a polarizing position and are instead sticking with pushing a voluntary buyback program as a way to appeal to the center.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019

Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Warren and Biden on the debate stage on Jan. 14. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a new gun reform bill on Thursday with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that calls for raising the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 and increasing the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.

The big picture: 2019's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; and near Odessa, Texas, have pushed 2020 Democrats to take harder stances on gun control than in the last presidential election, when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton only briefly addressed the issue in their primary debate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden's 2020 gun safety plan would reinstate assault weapons ban

Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is out with an 11-page proposal to end gun violence in the United States.

The big picture: Biden's plan would ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but it would not call for a mandatory assault weapons buyback program as Beto O'Rourke has proposed.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019