Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was met with a fiery challenge over gun rights by a local resident in Connecticut.
The 2020 Democratic hopeful discussed gun violence prevention at a campaign stop on Wednesday at the Newtown Community Center, speaking with members of a community that went through the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. One woman confronted O’Rourke on his position which favors a mandatory semi-automatic weapons buy-back program, universal background checks and red flag laws.
**WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE**
The woman, identified as Rebecca Carnes by WTIC-TV, challenged the former Texas congressman to “bring it on” in a passionate face-off at the event which was closed to the public.
“You’re here to hijack this town and to tray and make an issue out of getting guns out of good people’s hands that can make a difference, and you know that, Beto” Carnes said, standing up.
“No, this is bull****! It’s about mental health and it’s about this war on boys and masculinity,” she continued as the audience began to murmur and security began to step in.
But Carnes was not done.
“You’re bull**** by being here, shame on you, Beto!” she said, issuing a challenge to the 2020 contender. “Why don’t you debate me? Answer my question. Answer my question, Beto. ”
“C’mon, bring it on, Beto! Let me hear, what do you have to say about mental health? What do you have to say about urban violence?” Carnes asked. “You don’t care. The Democrats have been in charge of urban communities and cities for decades. The Democrats have failed.”
Carnes continued to move closer to O’Rourke as efforts were made to get her to stop speaking and leave the forum.
“I grew up in Newtown,” she said before turning her wrath on those trying to get her out.
“No, you’re gonna kick out a mother in this community — I grew up here,” she said, adding that she was a third-generation member of the community and declaring that “Democrats are out!”
“You guys are corrupt liars, and you know it, Beto!” Carnes concluded after her “Trump 2020” remarks drew boos from the audience.
Local gun control advocates were in attendance at the event, including members of the Newtown Action Alliance and Moms Demand Action.
“I know that the people of this community understand this better than perhaps any other community in this country and not just the devastation, the grief and the lost, but what those solutions are,” O’Rourke said ahead of the gathering.
Sandy Hook survivors like Anne Marie Carlson were also on hand, gushing about O’Rourke being the “voice” for them.
“To stand up for not only myself and all the other survivors, I think it’s all about the voice and the power that young citizens have,” Carlson said.
“Having someone like him be the voice for people that can’t speak anymore and be the voice for people who have lost loved ones, it just really means the world to me,” Newtown resident Heidi Alvarez, whose sister survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said through tears.
Middlebury resident Dr. Walt Kupson, however, was one of the voices of dissent, accusing O’Rourke of “shredding and standing on the Constitution.”
“They’re coming to Newtown,” Carnes told WVIT-TV, “they’re standing on the graves of the Newtown children that died here to make a political and financial statement because this has become big business in Newtown.”
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