Connect with us

Politics

O’Rourke’s ‘hell yes’ vow to take away rifles worries U.S. lawmakers pushing for gun limits

Published

on

O'Rourke's 'hell yes' vow to take away rifles worries U.S. lawmakers pushing for gun limits

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke did not hesitate during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate when asked whether he would confiscate assault-style weapons from Americans.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke delivers his closing statement at the end of the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said, instantly creating a viral moment – and potentially a fresh headache for lawmakers trying to persuade reluctant Republicans to pass new gun limits in Washington.

Opinion polls have found that tackling gun violence is increasingly a top priority for voters. The discussion on the debate stage in Houston, however, saw O’Rourke and other Democratic candidates endorsing ideas that go beyond any legislation under serious consideration in Washington.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican and the co-author of legislation that would require background checks for all gun purchases, both expressed concern that O’Rourke’s declaration could harm the bill’s prospects.

“I don’t think having our presidential candidates, like congressman O’Rourke did, say that we’re going to try to take people’s guns against their will is a wise policy or political move,” Coons said on CNN on Friday, adding that he fears the debate video clip will be used to scare gun owners for years to come.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and other party leaders, who were at their annual retreat in Baltimore on Friday, immediately seized on O’Rourke’s comments to portray Democrats as having a “radical agenda,” as Vice President Mike Pence said.

“Leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens,” Pence said of the debate. “The American people deserve to know this president, this vice president and these House Republicans will always stand for the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

O’Rourke has made gun safety the centerpiece of his campaign since late August, when his hometown of El Paso, Texas, was the site of a racially motivated mass shooting that killed 22 people inside a Walmart store.

Other Democratic contenders have also prioritized new gun limits in the wake of several mass shootings this summer, including incidents in Gilroy, California, Dayton, Ohio, and West Texas, underscoring how gun safety has been transformed from a politically risky topic to a core Democratic talking point.

BACKGROUND CHECKS VS. WEAPONS BANS

Several candidates on Thursday called for a renewed ban on assault weapons, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who boasted he had helped pass an earlier ban in 1994 despite opposition from the National Rifle Association. That ban expired in 2004.

Biden also reiterated his proposal for a federal voluntary buyback program to purchase privately owned guns. U.S. Senator Cory Booker highlighted his plan to require licenses for gun ownership, another idea that has support in polls but virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.

Gun control advocacy groups like Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety have deliberately focused their strategic efforts on broadly popular proposals like background checks, rather than more controversial measures like weapons bans or buyback programs.

The executive director of Giffords, Peter Ambler, rejected the assertion that O’Rourke’s comments would lead to a backlash against the background checks legislation.

“On universal background checks, the question is asked and answered: America wants this to happen,” he said on Friday in an interview in Houston, where he attended the debate alongside gun violence victims.

Ambler argued the key takeaway from the debate was the fact that the entire Democratic field has embraced gun safety as a major campaign issue. But he also made clear that Giffords is not calling for an assault weapons ban, let alone confiscation.

In a statement, Everytown spokeswoman Taylor Maxwell also kept the focus on background checks and “red flag” laws, which allow courts to confiscate guns temporarily from dangerous people, rather than the more aggressive policies aired on the debate stage.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke talks in the spin room after the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Houston, Texas, U.S. September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

“It’s hard to overstate how much the politics of gun safety has changed – whereas candidates once avoided gun safety entirely, now they’re jockeying to be the boldest,” she said. “We welcome all ideas to prevent gun violence, but our focus right now is on passing legislation that can save lives and get through the Senate.”

President Donald Trump expressed cautious support for expanded background checks and a red flag law following the mass shootings this summer, but he has since soft-pedaled those comments after meeting with the NRA.

Absent Trump’s support, it is unlikely any gun restrictions would pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage. Senators who have been in discussions with the White House are waiting for the president to make his position clear.

Reporting by Joseph Ax in Houston; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan in Baltimore; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis

Politics

Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in ‘SMEAR story’

Published

on

By

Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in 'SMEAR story'

President Trump blasted The New York Times over its supposed bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling on “everybody” involved in the “smear” to resign.

“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story, and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!” Trump tweeted Monday evening.

“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation… She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”

NEW YORK TIMES CRITICIZED FROM BOTH SIDES OVER NOW-REVISED KAVANAUGH ALLEGATIONS

Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, alleged there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.

However, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway — who reviewed an advance copy of the book – flagged an omission and the paper eventually revised the controversial story after being lampooned on social media over the gaffe.

The update included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump was asked about whether anyone from The Times should be “fired” over the controversy. He called it a “fair” question but didn’t directly give an answer.

“I think The New York Times made another terrible mistake,” Trump said. “It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen… They used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don’t have fact-checking anymore.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Politics

With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

Published

on

By

With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will hold one of his signature rallies on Monday night in New Mexico, a longtime Democratic stronghold his campaign has added to the list of states it hopes to win in the November 2020 election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The last time New Mexico supported a Republican in a presidential race was 2004. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 8 percentage points three years ago.

Trump’s campaign sees an opening in the state with Latinos, who it believes will swing his way despite tough immigration policies, including a crackdown on migrants from Central America and a push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrats have criticized those efforts. But a Trump campaign aide said the Republican president could win over Latinos who came to the United States legally and believe others should, too.

“Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN. Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day — see you in a few hours!” Trump tweeted ahead of his trip.

The campaign also views Trump’s support for the fossil fuel industry as a plus in the state, which is rich in oil and natural gas, said the campaign aide, who declined to be named. Trump is likely to discuss energy on Monday night.

Trump won the White House in 2016 with electoral votes from traditional Republican-leaning states and some surprise Democratic-leaning ones.

The Trump campaign says it wants New Mexico’s five electoral votes to augment the 306 electoral votes the president received in his first election, not create a separate path for victory. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes nationally to win.

Democrats, who did well in New Mexico during the 2018 mid-term elections, are skeptical.

“Last cycle, Democrats crushed Republicans in New Mexico because voters are fed up with President Trump’s toxic healthcare agenda and broken promises,” said David Bergstein, a communications director for the Democratic National Committee focused on battleground states.

“We take nothing for granted, but this GOP strategy looks like they’re concerned about a realistic pathway to 270 electoral votes,” he added.

Trump won electoral-vote-rich swing states such as Ohio and Florida in 2016, while also picking up Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from Democrats.

The campaign says it is eyeing more pickups in 2020, including Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

Continue Reading

Politics

California adds Iowa to ‘travel ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions

Published

on

By

California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced Monday that it has added Iowa to the list of states on its ever-expanding “travel ban” list because of that state’s new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid.

The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.

Becerra’s authority came from a 2016 California law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bars state-funded travel to other states that undercut LGBT rights. The list already included Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

WATCH: LIBERAL POLICIES BLAMED FOR WORSENING CALIFORNIA’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Conservatives have called the law ineffective, inconveniencing, possibly unconstitutional and hypocritical. The state’s sports teams have turned to private funding to get around the restrictions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care,” Becerra said in a statement. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.”

The brouhaha began after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that taxpayers could be forced to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law effectively overriding that ruling two months later.

At the federal level, the Trump administration has disputed the idea that sex-based discrimination prohibitions under law include protections for gender identity. The Health and Human Services Department, in May, angered progressive advocates with rules that both allowed doctors not to perform certain operations and stated that “gender identity” was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Categories

Recent Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Trending