Democratic candidates are lining up to endorse Joe Biden in an open effort to force the long-discussed contested convention where “superdelegates” can take away the nomination from Bernie Sanders — what Elizabeth Warren’s campaign revealed this week as their “final play.” In response, Biden seems to be handing out cabinet and Administration jobs, referring to a place in his administration for Pete Buttigieg in accepting his endorsement. However, it was the promise given former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke that surprised most people. Biden promised to make O’Rourke — who went down in flames in the primary — the head of his gun control effort. The pledge will likely push most gun owners to Trump since O’Rourke’s calls to seize guns was not only too extreme for most Democratic candidates but it is also arguably unconstitutional. O’Rourke’s “Hell yes” call to seize AR-15s played right into the hands of gun control opponents.
One of O’Rourke’s main campaign issue — and certainly his best known issue — was his declaration “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” at a Democratic primary debate last year. It was viewed as a desperation play that failed in spectacular fashion.
Nevertheless, last night in Texas, Biden declared “I want to make something clear — I’m gonna guarantee you, this is not the last you’re seeing of this guy — you’re gonna take care of the gun problem with me, you’re gonna be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on you, I’m counting on you, we need you badly.”
I recently wrote a column on how the political rhetoric of the Democratic candidates was outstripping the legal realities of gun control. It remains unclear if the Supreme Court would sign off on a ban of a weapon like the AR-15 which is valued because it is modular and can be altered for different functions. There are other weapons with greater caliber rounds or similar fire power.
Even if Biden decides to block such an effort by O’Rourke as gun control czar, he would be selecting the candidate with the most extreme views on the subject to lead the effort of his administration. That will have a clear impact in November on independent gun owners. It is another odd moment for the politician who did not have to trip this wire in accepting the endorsement.
Biden declared in Texas that “Texas aren’t looking for revolution, they’re looking for results.” However, Beto is one result that will look pretty revolutionary for gun owners, particularly in Texas.