“It’s not voluntary, it’s mandatory”, he said, doubling down on his call for sweeping gun confiscation across the country. This was just days after famously admitting “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Those were the final words of Beto O’Rourke as he threw his campaign off a figurative cliff. At least, it is the only thing worth remembering once he drops out. When that time comes he will probably give a heartfelt concession speech to his remaining supporters, but his legacy of anti-Second Amendment vitriol will haunt his colleagues long after he is gone. This outburst could not have come at a worse time for the Democrat Party.
Just as there seemed to be some willingness for both sides of the debate to have a conversation, liberals couldn’t help themselves by falling largely silent on Beto’s remarks. Now, they will have to compete with or against mandatory firearm confiscation from now until November 2020. Either way, they embolden Republican voters or alienate their base.
In American politics, allowing your opponents to define themselves at their own expense is always a welcoming circumstance. We have already seen this catalyst take off with much “we dare you” fanfare from Republicans. Senator Tom Cotton drew a line in the sand with a new ad that has placed Democrats squarely in the corner of Beto’s extreme position. The NRA even awarded O’Rourke “AR-15 Salesman of the Year” which is a real unintended consequence of Beto’s remarks.
I’ve spent the past week reading countless articles on this topic and the writers clearly get it. Most every piece I’ve come across has implied “Shut up, stupid!” undertones. While the Left quietly agrees with Beto’s policy, they know it is not something that can happen with a flip of a switch.
To turn the United States into a gun-free zone, opponents of the Second Amendment have to be discrete by eroding gun rights via piecemeal legislation: a magazine capacity limit here, some disregard for due process there. Beto skipped those steps completely and invoked a dilemma for Democrats playing the long game.
Arkansas has experienced this underhanded strategy in just the past week. State Rep. Denise Garner tried to push two gun control measures for consideration at a Legislative Council meeting. She masked her true intent of both measures by calling them a “study” of the issue, which in this case is political jargon for getting an unpopular policy into the bill making process. Keep in mind this was done while the legislature was not in session, probably to maintain a low profile.
The first would lead to legislation that turns many gun-carrying Arkansans into criminals by outlawing popular holsters on the market today. If you conceal carry, I bet most of you rely on a thin-profile holster that is comfortable, concealable, and easy to withdraw if needed. Your standard Kydex holster and other similar products commonly used for concealed carry would become illegal if the measure came to fruition.
The second is a precursor to infringing on due process that relates to gun ownership. Upholding “innocent until proven guilty” is an important aspect of our judicial system and restricting any Arkansans right to self-defense without due process or just cause is unconstitutional.
Fortunately, both measures were swatted down by Arkansas Republicans.
(Each month, Arkansas Money & Politics will feature exclusive op-eds provided by members of the Republican Party of Arkansas. The views in these op-eds are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Arkansas Money & Politics or Vowell Media Inc.)