There are a lot of pro-gun politicians out there who it’s hard not to admire. Rep. Steve Scalise, for example, was shot by a domestic terrorist who only wanted to kill Republicans, yet his stance on guns has been resolute throughout. I can’t even imagine what he went through, yet he’s not budged a single inch on the issue.

But even Scalise’s efforts pale behind the work of Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke.

That’s right, I’m putting Beto up above someone like Scalise as a hero of the Second Amendment. No, I haven’t lost my mind, either.

You see, Beto has managed to do something I didn’t think was possible. He may well have sidelined gun control this year without holding office or even being a viable candidate for office.

“Hell yeah,” he said, “we’re going to take away your AR-15.”

Not the kind of language you’d expect from a hero of the Second Amendment, as I’ve just proclaimed Beto. Yet with that one sentence, O’Rourke has upset the gun control apple cart something fierce and done so in a way the National Rifle Association could only have dreamt of.

For years, we were told that no one was coming for our guns, that no one wanted to disarm us. Even O’Rourke, while running for Senate, claimed as much. The idea was to gaslight gun owners who knew otherwise. We knew what they wanted because so many had slipped up to admit their desires, but anti-gunners were so adamant about it that some started to doubt their own sanity.

Then O’Rourke made his remarks on live national television and everything changed.

Now, anti-gunners felt comfortable to admit that yeah, maybe they did want to take your guns. Those who took issue with his comments generally didn’t do so from the idea that it was a violation of our civil liberties, only that it wasn’t the right time or things like that.

O’Rourke exposed the ugly beast within the gun control movement. He unmasked them for who they really were.

The NRA couldn’t do that.

Wayne LaPierre couldn’t do that.

Ted Nugent couldn’t do that.

Erich Pratt from Gun Owners of America couldn’t do that.

No one on this side of the debate could. No one could get them to expose their own naked bias. Perhaps more importantly, no one could do so at the same time they managed to spike a potential gun control deal before it had even made it to the table. No, really.

So yeah, in a very real way, Beto O’Rourke may have just saved the Second Amendment from a Congress so willing to make a deal that they’d swallow almost anything.

That’s not to say there won’t be some kind of deal. A lot of that matters to just who blinks first to make a deal happen.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Beto meant for any of this to happen. In fact, I’m quite sure he didn’t. I seriously doubt he’s been harboring pro-Second Amendment sympathies all these years and chose now to unveil them to the world. If so, kudos for playing the long game like that, but I don’t think anyone would buy that.

No, he did it out of incompetence.

Still, he’s a hero. Maybe not the hero we deserve, but the hero we needed.

Thanks, Beto. Keep up the good work!