By Larry Keane
Remember all those years when gun control politicians told us they “respect the Second Amendment,” which was usually followed by some statement suggesting the Second Amendment just protects firearms for hunting? They tried to calm the fears of gun owners by saying, “No one’s taking away your guns.”
I kind of hate being the one to say “I told you so, but…” Well, the mask is off. Everyone can thank presidential Democratic candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke for just coming out and finally saying what we’ve known all along. Politicians who claim to just want a little gun control have an entirely different end game.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Not Your Dad’s Gun Control
O’Rourke’s emphatic pronouncement is a radical departure from his party’s mantra that gun control politicians want to limit access to firearms for those who can’t be trusted. Former President Barack Obama famously said, “First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true.”
In fact, when it was previously proposed by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), not a single Democrat candidate pushed back. In fact, since then, Former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have all endorsed gun confiscations. Sen. Amy Klobuchar defended a forced seizure as constitutional.
Fund Raising of Gun Grabs
It makes you nostalgic for the days of old when at least gun control politicians tried to be sly. No longer. O’Rourke ripped the lid off that on the debate stage. He didn’t stop there. He’s marketing the phrase by putting it on t-shirts to raise money off it for his campaign. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is chiding Politifact for once claiming O’Rourke was part of the “not really going to take your guns” crowd when the site rated the rumor as “false.” The site backed O’Rourke in his U.S. Senate challenge when he claimed he didn’t want to seize anyone’s guns.
O’Rourke explained on “The Chad Hasty Show” in 2018 that he believed AR-15s in private ownership weren’t a concern. “To be clear, they should have them. You purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.” He even added, “If you own a gun, keep that gun. Nobody wants to take it away from you — at least I don’t want to do that.”
Don’t Say It Out Loud
That’s got some fellow politicians a little nervous. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, (D-R.I.) told Fox News, “That message doesn’t help…” That’s coming from the guy who is writing the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, the bill that would ban the sale of modern sporting rifles. U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told CNN, “I frankly think that that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies…”
Others, though, are downright giddy. U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said her push for criminalizing private firearms sales “are the base from which we must do anything.” She also warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell there would be “hell to pay,” if he didn’t pass her flawed legislation. Pelosi warned President Trump any proposal he puts forth must include universal background checks and if he agreed to her demands, she promised she’d drag Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) so they could gloat while he signed a bill into law in a Rose Garden ceremony.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.