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. Oh that pesky musket. But wasn’t the musket a ‘weapon of war’ that people were encouraged to posses by the Founders who framed the Second Amendment? Can you explain the “kill rate”?

  2. The pro-2nd Amendment argument that turns me off the most is the veiled threat of wanting to own the most deadly weapon to fight your fellow Americans in a Civil War II. This mentality is delusional and fantasy-based. I find that those who take the most comfort in it are anti-government. How are such types going to end a shooting war and restore civility? Don’t they realize that forming a stable government that respects individual freedoms requires advanced skills of legal thought and design, constructive compromise, and then light-touch law enforcement to maintain it? People who would prefer to “do their talking” through the barrel of a long-gun can only ruin and destroy public trust and confidence — they cannot rebuild it because that takes someone more circumspect — someone who sees their fellow citizen as an equal regardless of viewpoint or disagreement — someone who can be persuasive with sage words, not violence.

    I know human tendencies well enough to know that, once a person decides to take up arms against his fellow citizens for political reasons, that person has entered “the ends justifies the means” territory, and would cavalierly snuff out my life based on the slightest impression of my disagreement with his “cause”. No civil rights. No trial by jury. No accountability.

    Beware the gun-rights advocate who lusts for personal power over his fellow citizens though owning highly-lethal weapons. The person who believes in using armed violence for persuasion, like V. Putin does, is the greatest danger America faces.

    1. Who is making veiled threats and what is the most deadly weapon?

  3. How about we call for schools to lock their doors, and for armed on site security on all American school campuses? You know, steps that would actually help save lives.

    1. “How about we call for schools to lock their doors,”

      Why don’t they lock automatically? When I pick up the grand-kids, they validate, get signatures and have the kids come into a front room and then they are sent out the door.

    2. Armed security on school campuses? The job description is going to be too boring for most adults. You cannot remain vigilant when the odds are < 0.001% of anything happening on any given day. To make my point, the School Resource Officer at Robb Elementary was "off campus" when this attack occurred. The same poor human factors design plagues security systems where a human is supposed to sit watching security cam feeds all shift. Boredom sets in quickly, and attention wanes.

      Come up with some better ideas.

      I like the idea that all firearms are have to be chipped, and give off a blip to "announce" their proximity to anyone who is interested.
      Then, then it's much harder to get a gun into a gun-free zone.

      1. Reading many of these 2nd Amd post like yours I think instead of following such quackery that we just skip all that foolishness & it’s inevitability & just surrender the US over to to Chinese Communist. Sarc.

        You gun grabbers are almost there anyway.

        Why don’t you people go put a Chip in the azz of Mexican Drug Cartails, Hunter & the Biden Family, Commie/Nazi Rinos & other rotten SOBs.

        Get Rid of Gun Free Zones!!!!!

        You sick B*stards should remind yourselves: (It was a legal gun owned by a US Citizen that put an end to the killing of kids in Texas while the police stood by hiding! )

        Just give everyone guns & ammo & within a short time things will sort it’s out.

  4. What gets my goat is when someone tries to make a huge deal out of the money that weapon manufacturers make from selling weapons in times of war. So what? They make a product with utility to their freedom-fighting customers. So what if they make money for doing so? They deserve every dollar they earn. Without arms manufacturers, there would be no freedom. God bless them.

    1. The 19 kids from Uvalde are enjoying your definition of “freedom” right now, as are a hundred million Americans who have kids in school, or a family member teaches in one. When are you going to be able to see “freedom” from someone else’s perspective? Enough “my world view is the only one that matters”.

  5. 56 comments and not a single person is here to defend the Democrats ONLY solution to school/mass shootings.

  6. They just tell sweet little Beto what to say and he tells Foggy Bottom Brandon what to say and Foggy Bottom Brandon tells BSsee MSNBC what to say. C’mon man, without these guys we wouldn’t have any comedy relief.

  7. Can I request Beto come for mine personally? He can meet me at Lexington or Concord. His choice and bring some friends, Beto.

    1. Here the embattled farmer stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.

      1. Spirit, that made those heroes dare
        To die, and leave their children free,
        Bid Time and Nature gently spare
        The shaft we raise to them and thee.

  8. ENOUGH!

    Beto and the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) are direct and mortal enemies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Americans and America.

    Beto enjoys the freedom of speech, and Beto must suffer the penalties for incitement to sedition, sedition, subversion and treason when he voices his support for those criminal acts.

    Illegal deportation is as legal and moral and illegal immigration.

    Beto enjoys the right and freedom of emigration.


    sedition noun

    se·​di·​tion | \ si-ˈdi-shən
    Definition of sedition

    : incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority (i.e. fundamental law, the U.S. Constitution)

  9. Beto is a rich politician without a brain in his head. He calls himself Beto to appeal to Mexican Americans, more and more of whom are voting Republican. There aren’t enough Democrats in Texas to elect him just as there aren’t enough to elect Wendy Davis. The only reason he did so well against Cruz is because Cruz is the most unpopular Republican in the state.

    1. NO he is a Dem,so he figures he has to only issue proclamations to be carried out by the military if necessarty.

    2. Gangbangers almost universally go for a 9mm pistol which they conceal. Try to keep up and argue with facts.

      1. Gee, you think they’ll chip their pistols so you can hear them coming?

  10. This buck-toothed Irish clown gave us a new portmanteau: “Feto”, derived from “fake” and “Beto”.

    1. ” “Feto”, derived from “fake” and “Beto”.”

      I prefer WAPO using Beta. Beta male fits him perfect.

  11. A Rasmussen Reports poll finds 40% of Americans believe mental health is to blame for mass shootings.
    30% believe it is access to firearms.

    Looking around at some of the wokeness SJW are pushing at public high schools and colleges, I believe this country has a serious mental heath issues that has nothing to do with firearms at all.

      1. a recent meta-analysis found that 74.8 per cent of all statistics are just made up.

        1. You have me laughing out loud —- Mark Twain would have likely agreed!

    1. Oh, there can only be 1 cause of mass shootings? That tortured way of thinking will never get to 1st base.

      Yes, mental health is very relevant as a cause, but not exclusively of kill rate. A crazed person with musket and ball was very limited by the slow refire rate. That gave responders time to intervene.

      If we could agree on placing limits on kill rate (something that is objective), we could still have self-defense rights upheld by the 2nd Amendment. We would be tilting the advantage away from the stealth attacker, and in favor of the responders. Doesn’t that make sense? (In addition to working on mental health).

      1. Oh that pesky musket. But wasn’t the musket a ‘weapon of war’ that people were encouraged to posses by the Founders who framed the Second Amendment? Can you explain that “kill rate” you mentioned?

  12. “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” something that Democrats are incapable of.

  13. “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.”
    AR-15s have the same rate of fire as all other semi-automatic sporting rifles that is one trigger pull one round fire. AR-15s lack selective fire capabilities. AR-15 rifles typically use the .223/5.56 round. some can be converted to use a large caliber but I doubt that that is huge number
    O’Rourke and other Gun control advocates fail to acknowledge that AR-15 style weaons have been used more times for defensive purposes than have been used for mass shootings. here are but a few examples
    pregnant Florida woman uses AR-15 to stop home invasion
    Oklahoma man uses AR-15 to stop home invasion by three teenagers
    Oklahoma teenager stops home invasion with AR-15
    Florida man uses an AR-15 with 30 round magazine to stop home invasion by 5 to 7 individuals (sorry cant remember the exact number)
    all of the above examples are easily found on the internet

    Heller cites ” Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” ” no one can say that AR-15 style firearms are not in common use when over 20 million such firearms are owned by the public

  14. Did his constituents ask Beto to take this position, or did he take it on his own? If he is currently not in elective office, then he does not have any constituents. Bottom-up is always better than top-down. If the top-down is coming from someone who isn’t even in public office, then that just takes a lot nerve.

    1. Beto has no constituents as he is not representative at either the state or federal level

  15. AR-15 is the number one selling gun in America. There are something like 20 to 30 million of these things in private hands. Confiscation, good luck. There are at least 29 companies throughout the world making these things.

  16. Gun owners shouldn’t assume that the government won’t be able, logistically, to confiscate all guns. The model of the government, in 1933, confiscating all gold coins and gold certificates in denominations of more than $100 should alert us to the ways a government could confiscate guns. First a buy back offer; then making it illegal to own certain weapons, and if caught using them, a stiff jail sentence. What good is a weapon if we will be prosecuted for using it, even in self-defense? The Democrats’ talk of gun control should be taken seriously. This administration in particular has proven to be dismissive of the law until forced to comply. Don’t put anything past them.

    1. One huge difference, it’s pretty hard to shoot someone with gold coins when they come to take them.

    2. the only problem with your example is that there is nothing in the Constitution that says the public has a right to hold gold coins and gold certificates.

      1. “. . . the only problem with . . .”

        So what?

        It also doesn’t state that an individual has a right to own shoes.

    3. During WWI and in the 30’s leading up to WWI, a large number of Christian Pacifists were sentenced to hard labor in federal prisons for 20-25 years for speaking out against war and objecting to fighting. Seems extreme, given the same federal gov will let you out after 7 years of a murder charge for “good behavior”.

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