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Beto O'Rourke visits gun show in Arkansas one day after releasing gun control plan

2020 Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke visited a gun show in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Saturday, one day after releasing a gun control plan that included mandatory buybacks for assault weapons. O'Rourke returned to the campaign trail on Thursday after taking a 12-day hiatus following the mass shooting in which 22 people were killed in his hometown of El Paso on August 3. 

"In Arkansas, I listened to gun owners and sellers — and appreciated hearing their perspectives," the Texas Democrat posted on social media. "But as the plan we released yesterday says, if I'm president, you wouldn't be able to buy weapons of war for $395. You wouldn't be able to buy them at all."

O'Rourke's gun show visit was first reported by ABC News, which reported it was an unannounced visit. According to ABC News, O'Rourke paid $10 to get into the event and spoke to a gun seller there. The gun seller said he would support a requirement that gun-show sellers like him get a federal firearms license.

In a statement about the visit, O'Rourke's campaign said "in a democracy and in this country, I hope, you're never allowed to write anybody off because they're a Republican, because they're a gun seller, because they're at a gun show. In fact, if you want to solve and address these challenges, listen to the people who understand it perhaps in some ways better than anybody." 

The National Rifle Association responded to O'Rourke's tweet, quoting "if I'm president" and then writing "Beto: Have you taken a look at the polls?" with the crying-while-laughing emoji. O'Rourke responded, "Yeah. I've seen them. 70% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, including most Republicans."

O'Rourke on Friday released a sweeping plan to combat gun violence, which included bringing back the assault weapons ban, working with Congress to enact background checks, a gun-licensing and registry system and mandatory buybacks for assault weapons. The plan also included a platform to combat white nationalism. 

In his return to the campaign trail on Thursday, O'Rourke vowed to concentrate his campaign on communities where he said President Trump has been "terrorizing, and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans."

After visiting the gun show, O'Rourke spoke at a rally for gun control on the Capitol steps in Little Rock. He was the keynote speaker Saturday night at the Annual Clinton Dinner in Little Rock, CBS Little Rock affiliate KTHV reports

Tim Perry contributed reporting. 

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