DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke visited Dayton after a quick stop in West Chester for a community meeting held at McKinley United Methodist.
Beto spent majority of his time talking about gun control and banning assault weapons.
“I want to make sure we protect your right to use a firearm to hunt or to defend yourself in your home. But if it is a right to stand up against your government, I don’t accept that,” said O’Rourke.
Beto told voters he wants to pursue strict gun registries and wants the ability to track almost every element of a gun down to the individual bullet.
Local republicans say they are willing to come together on this issue but are demanding democrats be more realistic.
“We need to come together in a bipartisan way to protect the 2nd amendment while combating violence. This extreme rhetoric doesn’t help anyone,” said Republican Rep. Niraj Antani.
“Sooner or later, the rest of the country – that racism, that violence. The fact that we lost 40,000 people to gun deaths in the United States of America, sooner or later it is going to find you. It found us in El Paso and it found you here in Dayton,” said Beto.
Some residents wanted to talk about issues that lead to gun violence.
“Look at the differences and what really perpetuates gun violence in urban communities. That’s poverty. That is hopelessness. That is not a public health issue. That is a public policy issue,” said one resident.
Not all residents in attendance are committing their allegiance to Beto.
“If you have a cat at home and it ran for president against Trump, I’d vote for that cat,” said Paul Guthrie.
“It is going to take a candidate who has strong gun violence prevention positions. And when we find the candidate and they have the nomination. We will go all out and organize across the nation,” said Kristine Woodworth from Moms Demand Action.
Beto told reporters that beating President Trump will take unity. He believes his background makes him qualified for the job.
“To beat Donald Trump, we are going to have to bring all of us into the conversation. Not just democrats, not just republicans or independents. Everyone in America,” Said O’Rourke. “I want to make sure Dayton is part of the conversation. So we came here to Dayton today.”
Beto also touched on legalizing marijuana, prison reform and a woman’s right to chose.
He did double down and say teens and younger children should not be smoking marijuana. Beto believes the drug stunts growth. However, he claimed legalization of marijuana and proper legislation could break-up the black market. Therefore changing how teens get access to the drug.
President Trump was the first republican president to win Montgomery County since Ronald Reagan. Local republican leaders are not surprised democratic hopefuls will hit the area hard. However, the party remains confident the region will re-elect President Trump.