Beto O'Rourke shifts position on AR-15s once again, quietly edits campaign website

Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke appears to have once again shifted his position on AR-15s.

O'Rourke, who has sought to use the Uvalde, Texas school shooting to jumpstart his gubernatorial campaign, has repeatedly changed his gun control position during his various bids for office.

Most recently, O'Rourke's campaign quietly edited his website's section on "gun safety," changing a call to "reduce" the number of AR-15s into a declaration that no civilian should own the weapon. 

The Internet Archives' Wayback Machine shows that as recently as April 1, the "Gun safety" page included a section that said: "And while it might not be the easy or politically safe thing to say, I strongly believe that we need to reduce the number of AR-15’s and AK-47’s on our streets."

Sometime since April 1 (the most recent date archived), the campaign edited the section to say: "And while it might not be the easy or politically safe thing to say, I don't believe any civilian should own an AR-15 or AK-47."

O'Rourke had previously dialed back his aggressiveness on gun control after falling behind incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the polls. 

When running for president in 2019, O'Rourke expressed support banning the sale of AR-15s and seizing the guns from current owners, saying: "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15." O'Rourke stood by that position as recently as November 2021.

But in February, O'Rourke took a more moderate stance. "I’m not interested in taking anything from anyone. 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 we’re doing right now," he told reporters. 

O'Rourke's 2019 position was a departure from what he said in 2018 while running against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

"We support the Second Amendment, if you own a gun keep that gun," O'Rourke said in 2018. "No one wants to take it away from you, at least I don’t."

While O'Rourke has ramped up his rhetoric after the Uvalde shooting, saying that no civilian "should" own an AR-15, he hasn't said whether he would try to ban the weapons in Texas if elected governor.

His campaign didn't return an email from Fox News Digital seeking clarity on the candidate's position.

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