OPINION: America needs Beto O’Rouke’s fire on gun control


Ricky Barker, Columnist

During  ABC News Democratic debate, Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke expressed a sentiment that was divisive and controversial.

On Sept 12., the third Democratic presidential debate was filled with the front-runners in the upcoming 2020 race. However, the major highlight of the night was O’Rourke’s electrifying comments on gun control.

 When moderator David Muir asked if he was proposing to take away assault weapons, O’Rourke energetically stated to a cheering crowd, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” 

He continued by exclaiming, “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”

It was a surprisingly bold and clear statement from a presidential candidate about a controversial issue.

The mass shooting epidemic hit Texas, O’Rourke’s home state badly last month. On Aug. 3, a brutal mass shooting killed 22 people in El Paso. Later on that month, a shooter killed seven innocent victims in Odessa.  

That is just the tip of the iceberg. A total of 116 victims have been killed in the 69 mass shootings in 2019 alone, according to FBI statistics. The pressing, tense issue is a huge situation demanding attention from the entire country. If any national concern needs immediate action, it’s this one. Innocent Americans are dying, and the government needs to step in with a strong stance. Both sides of the aisle should be proposing strong ideas to solve this crisis.

O’Rourke’s plan involves creating a national gun registry, which would allow the government to track guns and gun owners. It also calls for creating a nationwide gun licensing system. Finally, the plan includes a mandatory buyback of all assault style rifles, in which the federal government would pay individuals for their firearms. This is a sound plan, but whether you agree with O’Rourke’s specific plan is almost besides the point.

The important thing is O’Rourke came out swinging. He’s not standing on the sidelines, waiting for this problem to fix itself. It seems like many in Washington are just hoping their “thoughts and prayers” will cause this problem to suddenly go away. That, maybe, if they just wait long enough, and blame popular culture enough, people will stop dying.

Wherever the solution comes from, we need one now. There can’t be fence-sitters with an epidemic like this. The only wrong side is not taking a side on the issue at all. I hope to see every senator and representative in Congress offering solid plan, although for some this might be difficult, considering a large amount of them receive generous donations from the National Rifle Association.

While his plan may not be the best way to solve the gun crisis, his attitude toward the issue certainly is. One of determination and resolve to solve the massive problem. It’s not common for candidates to come and draw the line like O’Rourke did, but with what the country is facing right now, it’s absolutely necessary.