Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke continued his campaign for a U.S. gun buyback program during a stop at Kent State University this week, and noticed that peaceful observers who were lawfully carrying firearms attended his rally.
After the event, O'Rourke took the opportunity on social media to accuse the observers of bringing "assault weapons" to a campus "where four students were shot dead in 1970" — omitting the fact that the students killed were shot by the Ohio National Guard, not civilians.
What are the details?
On Thursday, O'Rourke posted a video of part of his gun control speech on Twitter, with the message, "Yesterday, people brought assault weapons to our rally at Kent State — where 4 students were shot dead in 1970. I told them nobody should show up with an AK-47 or an AR-15 to seek to intimidate us in our own democracy. We need to buy back every single one of them."
During his rally, O'Rourke said, "It's not enough to stop selling AR-15s and AK-47s, when there are more than 10 million of those potential instruments of terror. We must mandate that every single one of them be bought back. Back home, off the streets, out of our lives, no longer a threat to every single one of us."
"None of us should face this terror," the Democrat from Texas continued. "No one in El Paso, Texas, should have to tell me, as they do all the time, that they're walking around with a target on their back."
Pointing across the crowd, O'Rourke said, "No one should show up with one of these weapons to seek to intimidate us in our own democracy — that's wrong."
The Kent State Massacre occurred on May 4, 1970. A number of details in the case are disputed, but the facts are that four students were killed and nine wounded after members of the National Guard fired upon unarmed civilians during an ongoing protest against the United States bombing Cambodia during the wind-down of the Vietnam War.
Two of the deceased were protestors, and two were killed while walking to class.
Four Students Killed at Kent State University Bettmann Archive/Getty Images