As the Democrat Party has not won a statewide office in more than 20 years, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has recently been walking back some of the hard-left positions that served him well on the national stage but not as well in Texas.
O’Rourke famously proclaimed in the 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” in support of mandatory gun buyback programs that would essentially confiscate currently legally owned military-style rifles.
However, at a campaign event in Tyler last month, O’Rourke told reporters, “I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. What I want to make sure that we do is defend the Second Amendment.”
Granted, in his next breath, he professed his desire to remove constitutional carry.
On Saturday, in an interview with The Texas Tribune at South by Southwest, O’Rourke was asked to clarify his stance on gun confiscation.
“I do not believe that any civilian should have an AR-15 or an AK-47. They were designed for a singular purpose: to kill people on a battlefield,” began O’Rourke as he still refused to answer whether he supported gun confiscation.
Following several statements where O’Rourke once again professed to support the Second Amendment while also calling for “universal background checks, safe storage laws, [and] extreme risk protection orders,” the Tribune’s Evan Smith forced O’Rourke to address the original question of confiscation.
“I don’t think anyone should have one, and if I can find the consensus within the Legislature to have a law in the state of Texas that allows us to buy those AK-47s and AR-15s back, we will,” O’Rourke finally said, elaborating that he could not mandate such a law as governor and would have to find consensus in a likely Republican-dominated Legislature.
Although O’Rourke is attempting to appeal to a majority of Texans by claiming to support the Second Amendment, his actual plans regarding gun legislation haven’t changed.
In a similar appeal to moderate voters Friday night, O’Rourke distanced himself from critical race theory, a hot topic in parental rights and public education.
After once again dodging the question of whether he supported the racist ideology in public schools, O’Rourke eventually answered, saying, “No, I don’t think [CRT] should be taught in our schools.”
However, O’Rourke told Yahoo News in February, “We should know the full story of Texas and the full story of the United States of America.”
“Not only our founding ideals and principles, but the way that those ideals and principles were often violated by the people who wrote them, or the fact that so much of the wealth and opportunity in this state was actually created by people who had no choice in the deal whatsoever,” said O’Rourke. “If we don’t, then we’re trafficking in myths and things that just are not true.”
O’Rourke’s attempt to moderate his views only further illustrates the uphill battle he faces against the stronghold of Texas Republicans.
Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott will face O’Rourke in the November 8 election.