Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke reiterated his support for gun control measures such as an assault weapons ban during a rally in Aurora on Thursday night.
Standing in front of Aurora’s municipal center, O’Rourke was joined by people whose loved ones were killed in the Aurora theatre shooting in 2012. Colorado State Representative Tom Sullivan, who introduced him, lost his son. Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, who stood close by, lost their daughter.
The candidate, who has become more vocal on gun issues after a recent mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, called for universal background checks, red flag laws and for a mandatory buy-back program for assault style weapons like AK-47s and AR-15s.
“We will buy back each and every single one. Call them home, off the streets, out of our homes.” O’Rourke said. “No one should live with the kind of fear that our fellow Americans live with right now. Kids worried about being hunted down in the hallways of their schools.”
After wrapping up his speech, O’Rourke took several questions from people both for and against stricter gun laws. One gun-owner who said that she would not give up her AR-15 asked O’Rourke, “How do you intend to legislate evil?” A man who survived the Columbine High School shooting pointed out that the shooters in that situation didn’t use assault style weapons. With that in mind, he asked O’Rourke if the candidate would support banning all semi-automatic firearms.
Aurora has become a popular stop for gun control supporters like US Congressman Jason Crow and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, an activist, who survived a gunshot wound to the head years ago.