Mass shootings are no laughing matter to Beto O’Rourke.
The Democratic Texas Gubernatorial candidate running against Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott saw a campaign speech go viral this week after he cursed out a man laughing in the crowd.
O’Rourke was discussing the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in May. The tragedy saw a teen gunman armed with weapons he bought legally, including an AR-15, kill 19 students and two teachers in the largest mass shooting in a school since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
A man was heard audibly laughing while O’Rourke discussed how the military-grade AR-15 was bought legally. And the former U.S. representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district responded by saying, “It may be funny to you motherf—er, but it’s not funny to me.” Many in the crowd cheered O’Rourke’s response, with some standing and clapping for him.
The moment was caught on camera, and can be watched here. Be warned that it includes strong language that might be considered offensive.
It should be noted that it’s not clear from the video whether the man was laughing at what O’Rourke said, or potentially something else. O’Rourke’s campaign was not not immediately available for comment.
Over the last few years, O’Rourke has been an advocate for tighter gun laws in the U.S. and in Texas, particularly after tragic mass shootings in Uvalde and El Paso over the last few years. While seeking the presidential Democratic nomination in 2020, O’Rourke famously said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke’s viral speech at the Mineral Wells town hall in Texas comes during his general election campaign battle against incumbent Texas Gov. Abbott.
Texas, a Republican-leaning state that has not had a Democratic governor since the 1990s, is a tough place to win state-wide elections for Democrats — RealClear politics polling is giving Abbott a lead by an average of 6 points.
See also: CEOs from over 200 companies urge Senate to end ‘gun violence epidemic’ in open letter
There have been at least 406 mass shootings through Aug 11 in the U.S. this year, averaging about 1.820 mass shootings per day, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that tracks gun-related violence in the U.S. dating back to 2013. The Gun Violence Archive defines “mass shootings” as incidents in which at least four people are shot, not including the attacker. And 2021 was the worst year on record for mass shootings in America, averaging about 1.896 mass shootings per day.