Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s breakout moment at Thursday’s Democratic debate occurred when he announced he’d confiscate AR-15 rifles from private citizens if elected president.
“Hell yeah, we're going to take your AR-15,” he said. “If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield, we're going to buy it back."
Since the mass shooting in O’Rourke’s El Paso hometown, he’s stepped up the gun confiscation rhetoric, apparently picking up the mantle left by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who quit his own presidential bid that seemed to focus solely on gun control.
Earlier, at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, O’Rourke said he believed that Americans would willingly comply with his call for an AR-15 confiscation.
“I see Americans complying with the law. I see us working with gun owners, non-gun owners, local, county, state, federal law enforcement to come up with the best possible solution,” he said. “I have yet to meet an owner of an AR-15 who thinks it’s OK that we have these kind of mass killings in this country.”
O’Rourke may want to talk to a 61-year-old Summerfield, Florida resident, who was recently allegedly confronted with four young, armed home invaders. The homeowner was himself armed — with an AR-15. At the end of a gunfight, two of the alleged criminals were dead, and the other two were held at bay until law enforcement could arrive to make arrests.
The primary reason for the Second Amendment is self-defense — even more than to facilitate the commission of a crime.
The Centers for Disease Control conducted a survey on firearm use in the United States. It found that firearms were used defensively by victims, like the Florida homeowner above, about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals.
The CDC’s findings mirror those of Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, who reported that defensive gun use far outweighs that of offensive gun use. It’s almost as though the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they drafted the Second Amendment.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice instructor Patrick Mondaca argued in a U.S. News and World Report column that “You Don't Need an AR-15.” Fair enough. But the Second Amendment says nothing about need. It rather provides that, “... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
District of Columbia v. Heller, a 2008 Supreme Court case, struck down that city’s handgun ban and reaffirmed the court’s prior position that the Second Amendment protects the private ownership of those firearms "in common use at the time."
In 2016, CNBC reported that “there are roughly 5 million to 10 million AR-15 rifles owned in the United States,” according to a National Shooting Sports Foundation estimate.
The network tried to gloss over those numbers by claiming that it’s “a small share of the roughly 300 million firearms owned by Americans.” But just like the Second Amendment isn’t based on “need,” the Supreme Court said nothing about percentages — only “common use.”
Although an AR-15’s compact design, ease of use, and light recoil make it an ideal choice for home defense, it’s also become increasingly popular for hunting.
In 2016, Time reported that the weapon is in common use to hunt at least seven types of game and/or varmints: Feral goats in Hawaii, feral pigs in Texas, antelope jackrabbits in Arizona, as well as deer, elk, coyotes, and Alaskan spotted seal.
In addition, the popularity of the AR-15 platform is such that it’s been adapted for other rifle calibers, including .22 cartridges, as well as 12 gauge and .410 bore shotgun shells.
In short, five to 10 million AR-15s is certainly as much “in common use” among firearm enthusiasts as Ford F-150s are “in common use” among drivers.
In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed a 10-year so-called “assault weapons” ban into law, which included AR-15s. At the end of the period, a Department of Justice study found that it had no effect on gun-related homicides.
But O’Rourke has a backup plan. As an alternative to banning AR-15s, he suggests targeting banks and credit card companies that finance the purchase of firearms.
“Credit cards have enabled many of America’s mass shootings in the last decade—and with Washington unwilling to act, they need to cut off the sales of weapons of war today,” he wrote.
Not only is the term “weapons of war” wildly inaccurate, but by weaponizing banks, he’s interfering with the lawful commerce of a legal item. Writing for the Resurgent, Gabriella Hoffman observed that, “O’Rourke is placing a target on [the] backs [of mom and pop gun stores] ahead of tonight’s debate in Houston, Texas. Ghoulish.”
Being a bit more direct, “The View” co-host Meghan McCain announced Tuesday that, "I'm not going to live without guns." And neither are five to 10 million other AR-15 owners.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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