Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg wants more gun control, and says policies like universal background checks and making it tougher to obtain assault-style rifles don’t infringe on Second Amendment rights.

“The biggest thing I can tell you about some of these weapons that I trained on and saw and carried is that there are some weapons that have absolutely no place in our neighborhoods in America in peacetime,” Buttigieg, a U.S. Navy Reserve veteran who served in Afghanistan, told a full house at Somerville Theatre on Tuesday.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor said, “We need to make it harder to obtain assault rifles. We need to have red flag laws that disarm domestic abusers. We need to establish universal background checks.”

But his ideas were, “not anti-Second Amendment, because every right and every freedom in the Constitution comes with responsibilities” he said, adding the right to bear arms “does not entitle you to … other weapons of war.”

Buttigieg was responding to a question about preventing future mass shootings. As he spoke, reports came in of at least two people killed in a shooting on the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus. On Saturday, a woman was killed when a gunman opened fire at Chabad of Poway synagogue north of San Diego.

Buttigieg addressed 850 donors and activists at a fundraiser organized by supporters from Arlington. Prior to a question-and-answer session moderated by Brandon Victor Dixon of “Hamilton” fame, Buttigieg met with $500- and $1,000-level donors while his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, greeted those queued outside.

Buttigieg discussed issues affecting communities of color, called for increasing access to affordable housing and pushed for voters’ rights.

“If you are committed to democracy, you have to make it easier, not harder to vote,” he said to applause. “You have to be prepared to make sure our districts are drawn so that we actually are choosing our politicians, instead of politicians choosing our voters.”

Buttigieg is a rising star in the 2020 cycle. A national CNN poll released Tuesday showed him with the fourth-most support among likely Democratic primary voters, with 7%. Former Vice President Joe Biden led with 39%, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had 15%, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 8%.

Ron Shiloh of Dover was “shocked” by the rise of the openly gay and avowed Christian mayor, saying, “I didn’t think our country was ready for it. But I’m pleased to see that it is.”

Donor Kevin Donnelly-Boylen said that with Buttigeig, “I felt hope for the first time in years.”

Buttigieg also released a decade of his tax returns Tuesday, showing he and his husband earned an adjusted income of $152,643 in 2018, among the lower end of candidates.


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