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O'Rourke's 'hell yes' vow to take away rifles worries U.S. lawmakers pushing for gun limits

29 Comments

Former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke did not hesitate during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate when asked whether he would confiscate assault-style weapons from Americans.

"Hell yes, we're going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47," he said, instantly creating a viral moment – and potentially a fresh headache for lawmakers trying to persuade reluctant Republicans to pass new gun limits in Washington.

Opinion polls have found that tackling gun violence is increasingly a top priority for voters. The discussion on the debate stage in Houston, however, saw O'Rourke and other Democratic candidates endorsing ideas that go beyond any legislation under serious consideration in Washington.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican and the co-author of legislation that would require background checks for all gun purchases, both expressed concern that O'Rourke's declaration could harm the bill's prospects.

"I don't think having our presidential candidates, like congressman O'Rourke did, say that we're going to try to take people's guns against their will is a wise policy or political move," Coons said on CNN on Friday, adding that he fears the debate video clip will be used to scare gun owners for years to come.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and other party leaders, who were at their annual retreat in Baltimore on Friday, immediately seized on O'Rourke's comments to portray Democrats as having a "radical agenda," as Vice President Mike Pence said.

"Leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens," Pence said of the debate. "The American people deserve to know this president, this vice president and these House Republicans will always stand for the Second Amendment right to bear arms."

O'Rourke has made gun safety the centerpiece of his campaign since late August, when his hometown of El Paso, Texas, was the site of a racially motivated mass shooting that killed 22 people inside a Walmart store.

Other Democratic contenders have also prioritized new gun limits in the wake of several mass shootings this summer, including incidents in Gilroy, California, Dayton, Ohio, and West Texas, underscoring how gun safety has been transformed from a politically risky topic to a core Democratic talking point.

Several candidates on Thursday called for a renewed ban on assault weapons, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who boasted he had helped pass an earlier ban in 1994 despite opposition from the National Rifle Association. That ban expired in 2004.

Biden also reiterated his proposal for a federal voluntary buyback program to purchase privately owned guns. U.S. Senator Cory Booker highlighted his plan to require licenses for gun ownership, another idea that has support in polls but virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.

Gun control advocacy groups like Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety have deliberately focused their strategic efforts on broadly popular proposals like background checks, rather than more controversial measures like weapons bans or buyback programs.

The executive director of Giffords, Peter Ambler, rejected the assertion that O'Rourke's comments would lead to a backlash against the background checks legislation.

"On universal background checks, the question is asked and answered: America wants this to happen," he said on Friday in an interview in Houston, where he attended the debate alongside gun violence victims.

Ambler argued the key takeaway from the debate was the fact that the entire Democratic field has embraced gun safety as a major campaign issue. But he also made clear that Giffords is not calling for an assault weapons ban, let alone confiscation.

In a statement, Everytown spokeswoman Taylor Maxwell also kept the focus on background checks and "red flag" laws, which allow courts to confiscate guns temporarily from dangerous people, rather than the more aggressive policies aired on the debate stage.

"It's hard to overstate how much the politics of gun safety has changed - whereas candidates once avoided gun safety entirely, now they're jockeying to be the boldest," she said."We welcome all ideas to prevent gun violence, but our focus right now is on passing legislation that can save lives and get through the Senate."

President Donald Trump expressed cautious support for expanded background checks and a red flag law following the mass shootings this summer, but he has since soft-pedaled those comments after meeting with the NRA.

Absent Trump's support, it is unlikely any gun restrictions would pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage. Senators who have been in discussions with the White House are waiting for the president to make his position clear.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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He just killed any prospect he has of becoming president. Time to exit the race instead of draining money and attention from viable candidates.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good. Under the 2nd Amendment. Y'know, the part that says a WELL REGULATED militia.

Well regulated means just that: WELL REGULATED!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

He's crazy. Only a majority of Americans support that position and we often see guns like this in mass shootings.

I mean, what was he thinking?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

He never had a chance and it just goes too show how delusional these candidates are.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well regulated means just that: WELL REGULATED!

Yes, and in order to have a “well regulated militia” the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. In other words, no guns in the hands of the citizens, no well regulated militia. The guns aren’t the thing that is being regulated- the militia is. That said, like all rights in the Bill of Rights, the right to individual ownership of a gun is not unlimited - just can’t be ‘infringed’. Might I suggest a Constitutional amendment in order to disarm all Americans.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@CSHe just killed any prospect he has of becoming president. Time to exit the race instead of draining money and attention from viable candidates.

Exactly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Another "Law abiding gun owner" who fantasizes about shooting people he doesn't like with his AR15.

Sound familiar?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

In other words, no guns in the hands of the citizens, no well regulated militia. The guns aren’t the thing that is being regulated- the militia is.

If guns are necessary for a militia to exist, regulations of guns is necessary to regulate the militia.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens

Pence is dense. Prohibit them and their owners are no longer law abiding. After all, just as no law abiding citizen is permitted to possess pipe bombs, none should be permitted to possess an asault rifle.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Hell yes, we're going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,"

If only... yet to see any gun nut provide any logical reason as to why this kind of weapon should be available to the public. Except for this "we need 'em 'cos the Government's coming to get us" BS.

Senators who have been in discussions with the White House are waiting for the president to make his position clear.

They're gonna be waiting a long, long time...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Beto just auditioning for anti-Trump cable news network contributor for Trump’s 2nd term.

there will definitely be some openings as people start going to jail. (Hi McCabe and CNN)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The slow creep of authoritarianism continues in America. In fact, it already is authoritarian and is just getting worse. And those who cannot see it and who slept through history class will insist the U.S. government will never come for your freedom so the people don't need guns.

Does everyone even realize the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that police have no duty to protect you?

America needs gun control yes. But not done by the government directly and certainly not gun bans and confiscations.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This was just yet another desperate attempt by Robert Francis O'Rourke to get any kind of attention for his failed campaign. The sad thing is that his ridiculous, profoundly unserious remarks will not only haunt the Democrat nominee in 2020, but will also make any real legislative process to improve gun laws less likely. This was a totally selfish move and O'Rourke deserves the scorn he will get from Democrats who are actually engaged in meaningful work to reduce gun violence.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

there will definitely be some openings as people start going to jail. (Hi McCabe and CNN)

Still holding out hope and spinning these conspiracy theories, I see.

You assured us Clinton was going to jail (you sure you don't mean prison? Know the difference?)

You assured us the Podestas were going to jail.

You assured us Comey was going to jail.

You assured us a lot of people that are still walking around free would be incarcerated, but none have.

Too funny.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This was just yet another desperate attempt by Robert Francis O'Rourke

Not his full name! That will cut him like nothing else. Lmao.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

America needs gun control yes. But not done by the government directly and certainly not gun bans and confiscations.

What do you propose?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He and the Democrats just got ?Trump elected again. Thank you, Beto!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

He and the Democrats just got ?Trump elected again. Thank you, Beto!

Making prediction again. Your track record is poor.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

O'Rourke is like the polar opposite of the rabid Republican's Tea Party.

On the other hand, it is rather hard to believe that there are so many Americans who would be so protective and more in favor with leaving AK-47s on the streets than those in favor of taking them off of the streets. It's certainly a crazy world!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Making prediction again. Your track record is poor.

No, it actually isn’t. Anyway, Beto has zero chances of becoming President, but he just woke up a hornets nest with that comment and that’s going to bite the Dems very hard, even Democrat voters in the Northeast That are gun owners and may not even like Trump.

Beto, my man....lol

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Take the guns away and reduce the numbers of mass shootings in schools. These tragic crimes cost $229 billion every year.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Will never happen, I dare, I double dog dare any Democrat to try and do that. I hope they try!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I disagree. I ink owning a gun can help and ensure your safety at any given time

Except when the given time is in Japan, then like all you depend on the cops for your protection.

More people die from cancer or suicide overall, 

But those people are not killed by a third person criminal. Big difference. Mass shootings in schools, did you miss those?

Minority crime could be reversed with minorities getting better paid jobs by going to schools and universities with Universal Education for all.

When it comes to gun, mostly Blacks kill other Blacks, and Whites kill other Whites.

But mass shootings and white supremacist killings are another vile crime which means to be stopped with stricter gun laws. Even Trump knows that but is powerless to do anything.

Have you even noticed, Trump goes playing golf, not hunting. He said he hates the countryside.

Live Matter Not Guns.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am a US citizen, I am not a Japanese citizen, I go back to the states a couple of times a year, so what you just said is completely irrelevant because I am not a citizen of this country, it only applies to me in that when I am over here, but a bigger portion of my time recently has been in the states. So if I have to rely on the place, that is the system over here, but in my country I have the right to own guns I keep a few guns and I use my guns.

When you are in Japan you don't feel any need to protect you and your family with guns but you do when in America.

You make it seem like as if it is every day and thousands of schools are being attacked by mass shooters. So given the numbers of schools in the States, it’s a very, very tiny small amount.

There have been more mass school shooting this year than other years.

it’s a very, very tiny small amount.

Tell that to the victims and their families.

Life Matters not Guns

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, and in order to have a “well regulated militia” the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. In other words, no guns in the hands of the citizens, no well regulated militia. The guns aren’t the thing that is being regulated- the militia is. That said, like all rights in the Bill of Rights, the right to individual ownership of a gun is not unlimited - just can’t be ‘infringed’. Might I suggest a Constitutional amendment in order to disarm all Americans.

Democrats wouldn’t dream of doing that. It would be political suicide for them. But I get it, they’re playing to their base, can’t blame them.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Just how would the US Government go about banning and confiscating all AR and AK rifles? It's one thing to say you will, or even to go so far as to pass legislation. But how is that going to look in practice?

First thing is figuring out where all those affected firearms are and who has them. The Feds should be able to get the low down on a lot of them through their own records but there are a bunch more to be identified in the individual State's record systems. The Feds will need open and complete cooperation from all the states, if not voluntarily, then through judicial action. It might take some time and effort but in the end, it can be done.

So now what? Now that the Feds have the skinny on the contraband, how do they go about rounding it up? The best case scenario would be the Feds notifying the owners of their legally mandated obligation to comply and then facilitating the orderly surrender and subsequent confiscation of the banned firearms. Best case.

So that takes care of the legally purchased and/or registered illegal guns. But what about the ARs and AKs that are not registered, were not purchased legally and do not show up in any state or Federal databases unless related to crime statistics. How are they going to get them? They can only estimate how many there are or who has them. Maybe a nationwide multimedia campaign would help to influence some of these illegal gun owners to surrender their weapons and maybe encourage others to help identify uncooperative violators.

Something like this will only be doable if everybody involved gets on board. Anything less will invariably end badly. In order for a mandate to have power it needs to be enforced, noncompliance needs to be addressed in a manner that reflects the level of resistance. It might be necessary to suspend the 4th and 10 amendments along with the 2nd for a while to achieve the goal. Ultimately, the most stubborn criminals will need to be rooted out and eliminated. It might require some killing, but they would be bad people by then, so maybe it would be for the best.

I guess my biggest question is who is going to do it. Police? National Guard? Federal Agents? US Military? private contractors? Bottom line is, the best case scenario ain't going to happen. There will be pushback, there will be resistance. If it comes to kicking in doors, forced searches, mass arrests and even killing people for exercising and defending what they believe is their constitutionally guaranteed right, it might not be that easy to find willing accomplices from the local population. Probably private contractors and/or foreign mercenaries would be the most effective.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The anti-2nd Amendment echo chamber is working, as expected.

Most Americans aren't against firearms according to surveys. About 2/3rds either own or consider owning a firearm. They believe in reasonable restrictions, with everyone have a slightly different line of what "reasonable" means. Almost everyone wants background checks without any loopholes. The vast majority of gun sales go through background checks, so it won't make much difference, but the loopholes need to be closed. I'm surprised when people are against red flag laws, training and licenses being required for the most dangerous firearms. Seems like good sense. Mandatory trigger locks or a gun safe should also be required so no accidental discharges happen.

I'd like to see firearm lockers required for people who cannot prove they have a safe place for storage.

The SCOTUS has ruled on firearm restrictions and a few other related things people seem to have forgotten.

Some of the rulings have been for both pro-gun and anti-gun laws. Complete bans have been blocked. Some restrictions have been allowed. It is a mixed bag, plus each state has slightly different laws based on their local needs and local culture.

Cities definitely have different needs than rural places far away. That will be the place where Americans need to compromise the most.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kuya 808 - Just how would the US Government go about banning and confiscating all AR and AK rifles? It's one thing to say you will, or even to go so far as to pass legislation. But how is that going to look in practice?

First thing is figuring out where all those affected firearms are and who has them. The Feds should be able to get the low down on a lot of them through their own records but there are a bunch more to be identified in the individual State's record systems. The Feds will need open and complete cooperation from all the states, if not voluntarily, then through judicial action. It might take some time and effort but in the end, it can be done.

The first thing you'll have to do is elect enough Democrats, in a sufficient number of state legislations, and in Congress, to alter the U.S. Constitution.

In order to accomplish your "figuring out where all those affected firearms are and who has them", You'll need to pass legislation to register all those firearms. As many people are aware, registration will lead to confiscation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

O'Rourke is not gonna become president.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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