Democrat presidential wannabe Beto O’Rourke, caused a stir this month when he called for a mandatory buyback of semiautomatic sporting rifles. “Hell, yes,” he told a debate audience, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Many of his fellow Democrats were surprised to hear that. They know how strongly most Americans feel about the Second Amendment and how politically toxic gun-grabbing is with the voters.
Many of them hurried to distance themselves from O’Rourke’s comments, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tried to minimize the damage by saying “I don’t know of any other Democrat who agrees with Beto O’Rourke.” Does Schumer’s claim hold up if you speak to other Democrats?
- O’Rourke has made a series of increasingly anti-gun comments since entering the race for the Democrat nomination, but he stepped it up a gear at the third Democratic Debate. When the moderator asked if he was proposing to take away people’s guns he confirmed that yes, that’s exactly what he wants to do.
- There was an immediate backlash from across the political spectrum. Senator Joe Minchin (D-WV) said, “I can tell you one thing; Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away from me.” Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) said it wasn’t a “wise policy or political move.” Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) made it bipartisan when he called mandatory buyback “an awful and extreme idea.” And finally, Chuck Schumer said he didn’t know any other Dem who agreed with Beto.
- The thing is, we do — and they’re not exactly minor party figures Schumer has never met, either.
- Leadership hopeful Kamala Harris told journalists in early September that, although details need to be worked out, she supports a forced buyback.
- Cory Booker, who also wants to win the Dem nomination, agrees. He claims that other countries have been able to buy back sporting rifles — the UK and Australia are the main examples — so the US “can’t let the NRA tell us what’s possible.”
- Julian Castro, another presidential candidate, says he “at least” supports voluntary buyback and is “willing to hear the arguments on mandatory.”
- So that’s three senior Democrats who want a buyback for AR-15s, and this is only looking at the ones who are still in the presidential race. Another three who recently dropped out support buyback, too.
- Plenty of other Dems agree, including 71% of Democrat voters. Whatever Schumer says, this isn’t just some crazy idea that Beto came up with — it’s becoming mainstream in the Democratic Party. So you can’t breathe a sigh of relief when O’Rourke drops out of the race, because the Dems are going to come for your guns anyway — and Chuck Schumer was wrong.
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