During Thursday night's Democratic presidential primary debate, former Texas Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke had a breakout moment when he discussed gun control, which has led to criticism from Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

"Hell yes, we're going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against your fellow Americans anymore," O'Rourke said, describing his mandatory assault weapon buyback program.

O'Rourke made the emotionally-charged comments after two recent shootings in Odessa and El Paso, Texas, over the past six weeks, with seven people dying in Odessa and 22 dead in El Paso.

The NRA said that O'Rourke will fail and that he would "leave law-abiding Americans defenseless." The gun-rights organization said that "Beto will do anything to get ahead."

Ryan Fournier, the co-chairman of Students for Trump, tweeted that the "government will never 'buyback' your guns. They never owned our guns. We do not purchase guns from the government."

O'Rourke also received some criticism from his fellow Democrats. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that "this rhetoric undermines and hurts bipartisan efforts to actually make progress on commonplace gun safety efforts, like expanding background checks"

Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware said Friday that the clip of O'Rourke's comments "will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns."

O'Rourke said in response to Sen. Coons that "the time for letting status quo politics determine how far we can go is over. If we agree that having millions of weapons of war on the streets is a bad idea, we have to do something about it."

A Monmouth University survey last week said that 53% of Americans oppose a mandatory buyback policy, while 43% support such a program. The poll also showed that 56% of Americans supported a ban on the future sales of assault weapons, with 38% opposing the idea.