Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke declared on the campaign trail that owners of semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 shouldn’t “be able to keep them.”
O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee, said during two different town halls just days before the Uvalde, Texas, mass school shooting that AR-15s have no place in civilian life.
“I think we are fools to believe anything other than that these weapons of war will continued to be used with greater frequency against our fellow Americans,” O’Rourke told a group of veterans during a town hall meeting in Abilene on May 21.
“It’s why I’ve taken the position that I don’t think we should have AR-15s and AK-47s in civilian life,” he said. “They belong on a battlefield.”
UVALDE RESIDENTS REACT TO BETO O’ROURKE DISRUPTING ABBOTT PRESS CONFERENCE: ‘BULL—-‘
Earlier in the day, during a town hall with veterans in San Angelo, O’Rourke suggested he’s open to confiscation of existing semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15.
“My kids are my conscience,” he said. “And I may win or lose this race, but I’m always going to have to face them and answer for what I’ve done or failed to do when I had the chance to do something. And I just took the position that may not be politically popular or maybe too honest that only should no one be able to purchase an AR-15 or an AK-47, because they’re designed to kill humans and that high-impact, high-velocity round will just tear up everything inside you. You’ll bleed out before we can get you back to life.
“But I don’t think that the people who have them right now in civilian use should be able to keep them,” he added.
O’Rourke has repeatedly changed his gun control position during his various bids for office. During his failed presidential bid in 2019, he famously declared: “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15.”
O’Rourke stood by that position as recently as November 2021 but took a more moderate stance in February, telling reporters, “I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. What I want to make sure that we do is defend the Second Amendment. I want to make sure that we protect our fellow Texans far better than we’re doing right now.”
O’Rourke made headlines last week after he attempted to derail Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference to talk about gun control following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that killed 19 kids and two teachers.
O’Rourke campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for clarity on his position.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report.