Beto O’Rourke Calls for Buybacks in Plan to Combat Gun Violence

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, center, departs the Perches funeral home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Aug. 8, 2019, after attending a service for Ivan Filiberto Manzano, one of the 22 people killed in a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

(CN) – Former El Paso congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke assailed President Donald Trump on Friday in a newly released plan to combat white supremacy and gun violence in America, calling for a nationwide gun registry and a mandatory buyback program for assault-style weapons.

O’Rourke’s plan comes nearly two weeks after an anti-immigrant-inspired mass shooting at a Walmart in his hometown left 22 people dead and dozens more injured. O’Rourke resumed his presidential campaign on Thursday after pausing for 12 days, promising to zero in on gun violence, hate and confronting Trump, who he called “the source of this problem.”

“The terrorist attack on El Paso, fueled by the racist rhetoric of Donald Trump, was not only an attack on America, but an attack on the aspirational ideals of this nation,O’Rourke said on Friday.

The former congressman’s proposal calls for the federal government to identify white nationalism as a threat in counterterrorism strategy and would create domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI.

It also requires social media companies to take a more proactive approach at removing hateful activities on their sites, and supports the elimination of legal immunity from lawsuits to large social media platforms that fail to implement systems to ban hateful content.

“Congress’ failure to act has resulted in a democracy that is unwilling to confront an epidemic of gun violence,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “It’s time for those in positions of public trust to stand up, tell the truth and offer bold solutions without fear of political ramifications so we can finally start making progress and saving lives.”

In addition to a federal gun licensing system and registry and nationwide buyback program, O’Rourke is also calling for universal background checks, a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and federal red-flag laws, “allowing police departments in states without red-flag laws to petition in federal courts to have weapons removed from those who present a danger to themselves or others.”

O’Rourke’s plan offers a harsh rebuke of Trump’s actions while in office, calling on voters to “connect the dots” between the president’s family separation policy, Muslim ban and rhetoric about the Latino community to “a white supremacist killer using the same language in an act of domestic terrorism taking 22 lives in El Paso.”

“We must connect these dots,” O’Rourke’s proposal states. “And we must not let these moments define us. Instead, what will define America from El Paso, Texas to Baltimore, Maryland to Chicago, Illinois is the resilience and radical hope that communities have shown in response to these tragedies.”

O’Rourke will travel on Friday to Jackson, Miss., to meet with people affected by a massive immigration raid of seven poultry plants, where 680 undocumented workers were picked up by federal agents in the largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history.

On Saturday, he’ll deliver a keynote address for the Arkansas Democratic Party’s third annual Clinton Dinner.

%d bloggers like this: