Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s joined the chorus of Democrats complaining about Beto O’Rourke’s proposed “assault weapon ban” and compensated confiscation program, expressing annoyance that O’Rourke’s proposal is getting a lot of attention, but doesn’t have a lot of support.
“I don’t know of any other Democrat who agrees with Beto O’Rourke, but it’s no excuse not to go forward,” Schumer told reporters on a conference call Wednesday, according to the Times Union of Albany, N.Y.
The minority leader’s comments come as a number of Democrats have come out in opposition to O’Rourke’s proposed mandatory buyback program for assault-style weapons.
Apparently the Senate Majority leader has never met his colleagues Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both of whom are in favor of a mandatory compensated confiscation of the most popular rifle in the country.
In New Hampshire on Friday, Senator Kamala Harris of California told reporters that requiring owners of assault weapons to sell them to the government is “a good idea” because “we have to take those guns off the streets.”
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said he supports the proposal. He noted that other countries have been able to take military-style semiautomatic weapons “off the streets” and that the U.S. can’t let the National Rifle Association “tell us what’s possible.”
That comes from a Bloomberg News story dated September 7th, two days before Congress returned from its August recess. Back then, talking up a gun ban and confiscation was seen as something Democrats were “warming” up to, not as an impediment to passage of gun control in the Senate.
Fast forward a few weeks, and you’ll find Democrats complaining about Beto’s timing, but not many actually criticizing his idea (with the exception of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who said Beto wasn’t going to take his guns, and then acknowledged he doesn’t own any of the guns Beto wants to ban in the first place). It’s also worth noting that not a single gun control group has come out and said “Beto’s idea is a bad one. There’s no way we’d support taking guns from legal gun owners. We’re all about commonsense gun safety, and gun confiscation is neither.”
No, their objections have to do with strategy, not principles. Schumer doesn’t want to talk about O’Rourke’s gun ban plan because it’s not going to happen before a Democrat get back to the Oval Office, and the messaging from anti-gun activists this week was supposed to be all about background checks, with a few “red flag” talking points thrown in the mix. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer started off the week by demanding “universal background check” legislation get a vote in the Senate, and now everyone wants to talk about the gun control plan of someone who’s polling in the low single digits? It’s gotta be maddening for him.
It’s interesting that Harris and Booker, both active U.S. Senators, haven’t said much about a mandatory compensated confiscation plan this week, though Harris did talk about banning “assault weapons” via executive order when she was asked a question about a ban during an appearance on The Tonight Show.
For the most part, however, they’ve both been happy to let Beto take the lead on this one. Maybe they don’t want to get crossways with their leader in the Senate, or perhaps they’ve simply noticed that Beto’s increasingly strident calls to confiscate firearms aren’t leading to a surge in support or in his poll numbers.