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Beto in Reddit AMA claims ‘Americans will comply’ with gun confiscation

Former U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 19, 2019

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s hopes for a mandatory buyback on “weapons designed for war” may not have received the positive support he hoped for among Reddit followers.

O’Rourke’s plans for new gun control measures were met with criticism during the presidential candidate’s Thursday campaign stop to Reddit’s “Ask me anything” forum. While several of O’Rourke’s answers to political questions were met with positive support, his belief that changes in U.S. gun laws would be met with compliance was met with an overwhelmingly negative balance of downvotes along with comments criticizing his reasoning.

The initial question of O’Rourke’s gun policy platform was asked by a user named “ComptrlerAtkns”

“How will you confiscate the millions of AR 15s?,” the Reddit user asked.

The question followed O’Rourke’s comments from last week’s Democratic debate, in which he said his proposals would require mandatory, not voluntary compliance with a proposed gun buyback program.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said.

O’Rourke received initial applause during the debate comments, but the question returned to him during the Reddit event.

“Americans will comply with the law. It will be a mandatory buyback of AR-15 and AK-47s, weapons designed for war. Because we understand that there’s no reason for any of us to own a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield,” O’Rourke replied.

O’Rourke said he’s met “countless AR and AK owners” who told him they would give them up “because they also have kids and grandkids and want them to be safe.”

Reddit users largely appeared to reject O’Rourke’s remarks, reiterating the question further.

“What happens when they don’t comply though?” asked another user named “suckmyglock762.”

“When arguably the most left leaning states in the country cannot get any serious level of compliance with these laws, how do you imagine it will go better for you nationwide when including all the other states with serious gun cultures?,” the same user asked.

The user referenced recent reports that no New Jersey residents have yet complied with the state’s recent “large-capacity” magazine ban and have instead hidden them away.

Other commenters on the forum challenged O’Rourke’s premise of an AR-15 as a weapon to “kill people on a battlefield.”

“I’m not sure how you are using this to differentiate between types of firearms. Weapons were all designed for killing or inflicting damage,” another commenter, Cosmic_Troll, said. “While I understand and support gun regulation and restriction, your grand plan here seems to be just another strategy to pander to the extreme anti-gun groups.”

While the intentions of those replies to Beto’s comments may have ranged from legitimate criticism to less friendly ‘trolling,’ O’Rourke has yet to provide any follow up responses in the hours since his initial comments.

The Reddit discussion was not the first time O’Rourke’s proposals have been challenged since the debate.

“My AR is ready for you,” Briscoe Cain, a Texas state lawmaker said in a comment since deleted by Twitter.

An Arizona gun store, Alpha Dog Firearms, also ran a flash sale on AR-15s as a response to Beto’s comments.

“We’re discounting AR15’s to such a low price that EVERY AMERICAN can afford one,” the gun store said in a Facebook post.

The gun store’s supply of AR-15s reportedly sold out in about four hours.