Second Amendment Showdown: Beto O’Rourke Resumes Call for Gun Confiscation

Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has been ping-ponging on gun confiscation ever since his presidential candidacy in 2019 when he famously declared “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15.” When he decided to run for Texas governor, he then dialed down that pledge. With the Uvalde massacre (and critics allege his poor polling numbers), O’Rourke seems to have moved back to the position on confiscation. He declared this week that, not only should they be banned, but AR-15 owners should not “be able to keep them.” Once again, however, O’Rourke omits any explanation of how constitutionally or practically he intends to carry out this confiscation plan.

There is a tendency among gun control figures to leave such details to someone else to address. For example, in the confirmation hearings of ATF nominee Steve Dettelbach, he admitted that he called for a ban on “assault weapons” in 2018 but does not have a definition for the term. It captured the casual and irresponsible character of today’s politics.

For O’Rourke, the call for confiscation is even more glaring.

I have previously written about the failure of politicians to acknowledge the limits posed by the Second Amendment and controlling case law. While there are good-faith objections to how the Second Amendment has been interpreted, the current case law makes such bans very difficult to defend. In 2008, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, recognizing the Second Amendment as encompassing an individual right to bear arms.

The effort to ban AR-15s often fails to clearly distinguish the weapons from other semi-automatic weapons in terms of calibre or rate of fire. There are also obvious practical problems. With an estimated 393 million guns in the United States and an estimated 72 million gun owners; three out of ten Americans say they have guns. Indeed, gun ownership rose during the pandemic, particularly among minority households.

These weapons are worth hundreds of dollars. Owners would not only challenge such a law but might demand compensation for their seized weapons. There are also over 15 million such weapons in the United States. The ATF is a relatively small agency to carry out such a massive confiscation program. Even in Texas, a state confiscation plan would require an unprecedented law enforcement effort.

It is easy to dismiss O’Rourke’s call as another effort to revive a dormant campaign. He was recently criticized for storming a press conference on the massacre. However, even the President has been engaging in false claims on the Second Amendment while raising questions over gun ownership of weapons from the 9mm to the AR-15. These comments are obviously popular with their political base but they also create false understandings of the limits of gun control.

The test of leadership is to speak honestly to voters on not just what you want to do but how you intend to do it. O’Rourke seems to dismiss any constitutional and practical barriers as he calls, again, for gun confiscation. If we hope to achieve meaningful compromise after this tragedy, we have to set aside the reckless rhetoric and focus on the realities of gun rights and gun control. That takes responsibility, not demagoguery, from our leaders.


74 thoughts on “Second Amendment Showdown: Beto O’Rourke Resumes Call for Gun Confiscation”

  1. The only way the Democrats can push their totalitarian agenda is by lying, so I guess they all fail the test of leadership.

  2. We study history to avoid mistakes made in the past.
    The Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, prohibited the manufacture, sale, and possession of specific makes and models of military-style semiautomatic firearms.
    This law included a “sunset” provision expired in 2004.
    According to this report –, “The ban failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims. “
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    The majority of State Constitutions affirms the right to bear arms as defined in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Article 2 Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution provides that “The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.” This Article in the Constitution of the State of Colorado does not mention a militia.
    It is the obligation of the legal citizens of a nation to enforce the Constitutions upon their governments. The Constitution can not enforce its self.
    We the People are the final authority

  3. Still waiting for that good faith effort to explain the heightened scrutiny the component rifle warrants.

  4. I suggest Beto Man up and go to grabbing them guns……and walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

    Down in Texas he is widely known to be all Hat and no Cattle.

    Big mouth must like the sound of his own voice….as that is the only thing that it is good for.

  5. All good comments except for those trolls. I have heard some on the left say that the second amendment only pertained to muskets as they were prevalent in the period of the constitution. Obviously they have not studied any history of firearms and the fact that there were rifled muskets even in pre revolutionary time brought over by German settlers. That is what the snipers used in the revolution and the British subsequently used specialized “rifleman” units, usually wearing green jackets rather that the usual red. They wrought havoc on the French in the Napoleonic Wars.
    Also rifled muskets also used calibers of .60 to .75 and had muzzle velocities similar to the handgun of the present. The bullets were soft lead and deformed in flight and also when they hit the body. The wounds were horrific and huge. A large, slower, relatively deformable lead bullet also shattered limbs, either arms or legs beyond repair, especially if they hit bone. Large numbers of amputations were required not just because surgery technique was lacking but because of the wound itself, and bone so splintered as to be impossible to repair. Also the large size guaranteed a lot of dirt, clothes and contamination entered the body and infection that would tax even the skills of a modern day Infectious Disease specialist.
    Firearms are dangerous, no doubt about that. It takes time and care to be proficient but it’s worth the time and effort. Better to deal with something dangerous and know the risks and how to deal with it carefully and usefully than be totally ignorant. Never know when you might need it, especially if you live next door to Russia or have a government that won’t secure the border and lets just about anyone into your nation, criminal or not. Immigration is fine but immigration of high risk individuals are not.
    Lastly I nominate Mr. O’Rourke to knock on each door and proudly proclaim that he is from the Government and is there to confiscate your firearms. Should be a short tour.

    1. GEB,
      Well said about the technological advancements of firearms.
      The Founding Fathers knew full well things would advance as they saw improvements in ship building (Boston shipyards), printing press, etc.
      Could they imagine a nuclear aircraft carrier? The nuclear bomb? GPS guided bombs? The smartphone?

  6. So, the millions of law-abiding AR-15 owners should not “be able to keep them”? That sounds like a Democratic plan. Collective punishment is the thinking of tyrants and idiots.

  7. The matter of compensation after due process, as specified in the Fifth Amendment, is huge. Firearms, particularly those being targeted, are highly individualized and customizable. Each firearm could conceivably generate a separate cause of action.
    There may even be a class action suit to force the government to pay for the legal fees of gun owners seeking to challenge the compensation offered for each weapon.

    Beto is a walking mediocrity but a dangerous one.

  8. Beta male O’Rourke, is in competition with the President, as to spewing inanity. Biden has decreed the problem is 9mm ammunition.

    1. And poor old Bobby Kennedy was murdered with a mere .22 caliber! How unfair!

  9. Opened the blog and two of the posts were from Jeff Silberman.

    Both full of bile and malice.

    He has stopped being Turley’s editor and became a pathetic Howard Beal type.

    Prime example of how TDS rots the brain.

    1. Professor Turley already addressed trolls like Jeff, Svelaz, Sammy, Dennis, Natacha, et al. This isnt that hard. Follow instructions.

      Like all sites, we attract trolls and juvenile posters who want to tear down the work of others. It is a sad reality of the Internet and the worst element of our species. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them

      1. Estovir, it will never happen so why bother, unless of course, it is done one troll at a time. Start with one who has a name and work your way to anonymous. You can be hall monitor and prepared to post a notice every time someone provides a response. If you do that I will follow your lead.

  10. I suspect that the gun numbers quoted are way too low. Being from SW TN, I would wager that at least 80% of households own more than one weapon. As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have at least one weapon at home (and many have them strapped on them).

    Confiscation in SW TN is basically an impossibility.

    1. Its no different here in Western PA. The first day of buck season has more armed people in the field than most standing armies. I know of almost no homes that don’t have at least a few guns.

  11. Gun buybacks and bans is the most rational course of action. However it is unrealistic in our political climate. But I do credit Beto for saying what is unpopular and necessary. The 2A is sloppily written and causes massive problems. In a sane world it would be fixed.

    1. The 2A is sloppily inconveniently written and causes massive problems for tyrants. In an insane world it would be fixed.

  12. Do you remember around 1990 the Democrat buzz word was “AK47” that got stale so now it’s AR15. Just think if we had a real msm the topic wouldn’t be the AR15 but crime and lack of punishment. If they were a real msm they would show the real problem in America and it ain’t white males. No one asks the question why are Americans buying AR15’s or any firearm in record numbers.

    1. Margot Ballhere,
      Just read that over Memorial Day weekend, 52 shot, 10 killed in Chicago.
      Yet, MSM is practically mum on it.
      Chicago has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country.
      Must be something about criminals not obeying the law.
      But MSM does not talk about that.

    2. Margot Ballhere,
      To add: Read an article over the weekend, using CDC studies, showed the mental health issues of children ages 10-18 does a hockey stick around 2007 onward.
      As it has been noted recently, the COVID lockdowns have also had a serious affect on the mental health of dang near all ages groups, but affected those under the age of 18 the most.

  13. This is why America is the greatest country in the world. Not only can we vote the bums out of office, but we can shoot them out of office, too, and the Founding Fathers would be cool with that. We can do it with our own consent, being the governed and all. Ukrainians are inadvertently making the case for the 2nd Amendment, to fight off a tyrannical regime.

  14. No leftist will comment, in good faith, how the component weapon presents a heighten lethality.
    They can’t be honest in the core motivation, so I just assume everything they say is a lie. The constitutional questions are long and always end up restricting government powers in favor of the Peoples protection, against a Government’s abuse of power.

    Beta O’Rourke? He is Kamala’s doppelganger ideologue. But let’s not forget who Beta is talking to. Those who share the very low end of the IQ spectrum

  15. BETO is a FOOOOOOOL, Political Stooge and Puppet for the DEM’s and LEFT. He has always been for taking away your rights. He has no chance in being elected as Governor or Dog Catcher in Texas, even as DEM’s cheat.

  16. ATF stated last month 700 million guns in circulation in America. Best estimates 110 million guns owners. Gun ownership crosses party lines. As for the AR and AK style rifles somewhere over thirty million. Then you now have 3D printing ghost guns. Good luck on that technology. Billions of rounds on ammo in the hands of citizens.

    IMO we are in a Cold Civil War. Let’s not push this into a Hot Civil War. NO ONE IS TAKING ANY GUNS. The number of guns and owners the numbers are against it. Let’s work the problem.

    The Marxists history of the Twentieth Century is Registration, Confiscation, Genocide. It’s a Marxists Utopia Dream. Not going to happen.

    1. Then you now have 3D printing ghost guns.

      Small quibble. You have melded two different things. 3D printed guns are a real thing, but they are more often talked about as being all plastic and able avoid metal detectors.
      Ghost guns are homemade guns that have no serial number. The ghost gun is built around the piece called the, lower receiver. It is a solid block of steel. It needs several holes to be drilled and tapped and other simple steps almost ever person with a mechanical bent, and widely used bench top tools, and complete. To this piece, the trigger, breach, and the rest attach. Its a short days worth of work, if you have never done it before. I think the ATF is in the process of banning the sale of this piece. But it is unclear if it will do anything but slow citizens from exercising their constitutional rights.;

      1. The ghost gun classification also includes weapons with obliterated serial numbers.
        These are used to inflate the ghost gun figures and facilitate laws to address a basically nonexistent problem.

        1. Good Point. I always assume, when the govt is citing numbers, they will only represent the govt narrative, not have a passing relationship with reality.

  17. I neglected to mention the juror statement to which Turley was referring in his tweet above:

    “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI.”

    1. “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI.”

      That is the precise definition of Jury Nullification. Yes the law was broken, but we the Jury, have the power to rule on the FACTS and the LAW.

      1. Iowan says:

        “That is the precise definition of Jury Nullification.”

        Turley said otherwise.

  18. Turley says:

    “While there are good-faith objections to how the Second Amendment has been interpreted, the current case law makes such bans very difficult to defend.”

    The fact that Turley presumes that Liberals may have good faith reasons to disagree with Conservatives is the reason he is a NeverTrumper. Has any Trumpist on this blog EVER acknowledged that a Liberal may be acting in good faith?

    Hell no!

    Even with regard to the Sussmann verdict, Turley tweeted that the jury did not NECESSARILY engage in jury nullification:

    “Telling a lie to the FBI was the entire basis for the prosecution. It was the jury’s job to determine the fact of such a lie and its materiality.”

    “Of course, this statement can be a simple criticism of the underlying charge without admitting to bias in weighing the elements. Yet, it would have prompted a challenge in the courtroom if expressed during jury selection.”

    Yet every Trumpist on this blog will conclude otherwise because they are liars, for they cannot possibly know what was in the mind of all the jurors. Even IF the jury DID admit engaging in nullification, it is well-established that it is perfectly legal for a juror to vote not guilty for any reason they believe is just.

    1. “this blog will conclude otherwise because they are liars,”

      Hmmm there is Jeff insulting members of the blog without providing the facts. Typical from liars.

  19. Professor Turley sidesteps several important points. First the 393 figure is very outdated. The current number is closer to 700 million. Secondly how would any confiscation plan work when the vast majority of guns are not registered? Does Beto plan on tossing out the 4th Amendment as well as the 2nd? Thirdly what sacrificial army does he plan on sending? Surely he knows the level of armed resistance would be unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

    It’s a recipe for the next civil war and most of the armed forces and law enforcement will not be on his side.

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