AP Photo/John Minchillo
Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is still out there jabbering away about his big plan to ban so-called “assault weapons” and require gun owners to hand them over in exchange for some cash. In a new interview with CBS News, O’Rourke says his compensated confiscation plan wouldn’t require any new taxes, because they’d just confiscate the cash to pay for the program from gun manufacturers.
“I think that a mandatory buyback can be financed with a surcharge that would be paid by gun manufacturers,” O’Rourke said. “Those who are making the AR-15s and AK-47s and continue to sell them into our communities despite the terror that they’ve inspired and the lives that they’ve taken. I think this is the right way to fund a mandatory buyback without imposing any new taxes on our fellow Americans.”
If O’Rourke really wants Americans to turn in 15-million firearms for fair market value of, say, $1000 per gun, he’s talking about a $15-billion price tag just for the compensated confiscation portion of his plan. The entire firearms, ammunition, and hunting industry generated an estimated $21.3-billion in retail sales 2018, but that figure includes a lot of sales by companies that have nothing to do with the firearms that O’Rourke wants to ban. His delusional plan wouldn’t just strip legal gun owners of the most commonly sold rife in America today, it would cause huge economic upheaval in the firearms industry. And why would Beto stop with gun manufacturers? Surely firearm retailers would be expected to pay their “fair share” of his program as well, right?
O’Rourke continues to offer up vague talk of punishment for those who wouldn’t comply with his ban as well.
“For anyone who does not [turn in their weapon] and is caught in possession or seen in possession of one of these weapons of war, one of these instruments of terror, that weapon will be taken from them and they will be fined, and if they should persist in continuing to use and to buy these weapons, then there will be other consequences in the criminal code.”
“Other consequences”. O’Rourke can’t bring himself to talk about throwing people in prison for non-violent possessory offenses, but that’s exactly what he means. O’Rourke is running as a champion of criminal justice reform, but you can’t talk about reforming the criminal justice system while declaring your support for a host of new non-violent felony offenses in federal statutes. The media’s not even asking O’Rourke about his gun licensing and firearms registration scheme, but enforcement of those plans would also lead to otherwise law-abiding American citizens going to federal prison for possessory offenses. O’Rourke says he wants to end the war on drugs, but he’s not nearly as vocal about the fact that he wants to replace it with a war on guns.
I haven’t written much about O’Rourke lately, because his presidential campaign is going nowhere. It’s been more than a week since he’s had a poll where he’s scored higher than 1%, in fact, so I’m not too worried about a President O’Rourke being in a position to enact his gun ban fantasies. I do think this particular bit about confiscating cash from gun companies to pay for a “buyback” is worth noting, however, because I suspect that as we get closer to Election Day next year, you’ll hear the eventual nominee bring up the idea of making the firearms industry pay a financial price for engaging in the business of guns and ammunition. It may not look exactly like Beto’s $15-billion idea, but the intention will still be to hurt the industry as much as possible.