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Beto’s bet — only candidate to back controversial gun plan

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Democrats are proving again that they only talk the talk on gun control as just one 2020 candidate has openly endorsed a sweeping new plan announced by March for Our Lives.

One.

Other than former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Democrats have been largely silent following the release of the plan by the student-led activist group this week.

(Image: Wikimedia)

The March for Our Lives movement, founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in the wake of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, saw many of today’s 2020 contenders tout their gun control cause and use their rallies as platforms to demand legislation.

But while Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris joined various marches, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a rally and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker celebrated the students last year, they remained noticeably silent after the group proposed its “Peace Plan for a Safer America.”

O’Rourke has been the only 2020 Democratic candidate so far to come out in support of the comprehensive gun control plan which came just a few short weeks after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The former Texas congressman called on his 2020 opponents to join him.

“We hope every candidate for elected office — across all parties — comes out in support of the Peace Plan or announce their own proposals to address all types of gun violence and its root causes,” March For Our Lives board member Ariel Hobbs told Newsweek.

“Those running for the presidency, for Congress, for state elected office should all support a holistic national plan to end gun violence in America,” Hobbs said, noting the group was “thrilled” with O’Rourke’s endorsement.

While Andrew Yang’s campaign told Newsweek that he “would agree with much of this plan,” none of the other Democrats set to take the stage for the next debate in September responded to the publication’s request for a comment, although they have been vocal critics of President Trump’s plans, with many touting their own gun control proposals.

The 2020 hopefuls have called for everything from expanded background checks to banning “assault weapons” and even supporting gun buyback programs. The March for Our Lives plan included many of these options but also calls for a declaration of a national emergency and demands an investigation of the National Rifle Association.

“While Beto supports an individual’s right to bear arms, we must reexamine its regulation,” O’Rourke campaign spokesperson, Lauren Hitt, told Newsweek. “These students presented a bold change, but Beto believes now is the time for bold action — regardless of the political consequences. There have been more than 250 mass shootings just this year. We have a crisis and half measures aren’t going to fix it. It’s time not just to ban the sale of weapons of wars but to get them off our streets entirely — we need mandatory buy backs.”

Local March for Our Lives groups have reportedly been frustrated with the lack of participation by 2020 Democrats as they have held voter registration events.

“We want every frontrunner to be addressing the issue, and if they’re not, we take serious issue with that,” March for Our Lives Iowa co-founder Kevin Drahos told BuzzFeed News after a July event was not attended by any one of the candidates though Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg sent recorded video messages.

Meanwhile, O’Rourke was praised for stepping up to support the group’s new plan.

But O’Rourke, who temporarily stopped campaigning after the mass shooting in his El Paso community, continues to come in at the bottom of national polling, getting just three percent of the national vote according to a recent Morning Consult poll.

Twitter users weighed in on the hypocritical silence by Democrats on the March for Our Lives proposal and on O’Rourke’s support.

Frieda Powers

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