Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto ORourke on Tuesday said that he has no interest in taking assault weapons from gun owners, apparently backing away from a position he took during his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Speaking to reporters in Tyler, Texas, this week, ORourke said that he wants to defend the Second Amendment, but argued that the states gun policy should be driven by law enforcement. He also hammered Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottTexas National Guard soldier assigned to border dies in accidental shootingTexas governor seeks to block vaccine mandate for National Guard membersThe Memo: Stacey Abrams faces growing furor over mask-free photoMORE (R) for signing a bill into law last year that allows Texans to carry handguns without a permit or training.

Im not interested in taking anything from anyone, ORourke said, according to KLTV, the ABC affiliate in Tyler. 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 were doing right now. And that we listen to law enforcement, which Greg Abbott refused to do.


ORourke said that Abbott turned his back on [law enforcement] when he signed that permitless carry bill that endangers the lives of law enforcement in a state thats seen more cops and sheriffs deputies gunned down than in any other.

ORourke also called for other measures to reduce gun violence, including expanding background checks for those trying to purchase firearms. 

A spokesperson for ORourkes campaign declined to comment on the candidates latest comments on the record.

During a Democratic presidential debate in September 2019  little more than a month after a deadly mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas  ORourke threw his support behind a mandatory assault weapon buyback program. 

Hell yes, were going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, ORourke said. Were not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

That proclamation drew cheers from Democrats at the time but drew intense criticism from Republicans and gun rights advocates. As governor of Texas, ORourke would not have the power to confiscate firearms.

Shortly after he announced his run for governor in November, ORourke defended his remarks, telling the Texas Tribune in an interview that while he would vigorously protect that Second Amendment right to own a gun, most of us also understand that we should not have military-style weapons used against our fellow Texans.