Democratic Presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has finally acknowledged on Wednesday that enforcement of his “assault weapons” ban would involve door to door visits by law enforcement officers.
O’Rourke, who has campaigned on an “assault weapons” and mandatory buyback program as president, has been elusive about the specifics of how he would enforce such an “assault weapons” ban. During the latest Democratic debate Tuesday night, O’Rourke said there would not be a door to door confiscation, but on a Wednesday appearance with MSNBC’s Morning Joe Show, O’Rourke said there would be a “visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm.”
O’Rourke initially rejected Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough’s assessment of his plan as a confiscation. O’Rourke said, “To be clear, I’m not talking about confiscating anybody’s guns.”
As Scarborough pressed on with the question, O’Rourke repeated one of the points he made during the Tuesday presidential debate, that he believes Americans value the rule of law, and will comply even if they don’t agree with a law.
O’Rourke also reiterated the importance of his gun policy proposal and said the estimated 16 million “assault weapons” in his proposal “must be bought back or else each of them are an instrument, potentially, of terror in this country.”
Scarborough did not appear to agree with O’Rourke’s belief that all Americans will hand over the firearms simply because they are banned.
“Let’s just assume there’s a rancher in Texas that doesn’t that says ‘I’m not going to do this because this is an unjust law and it’s unconstitutional,’ what’s the next step,” Scarborough asked. “I think that’s what we need to concede because there will be people that don’t turn their guns back in. What’s the next step for the federal government there?”
“I think just as in any law that is not followed, or flagrantly abused, there has to be consequences or else there is no respect the law,” O’Rourke said. “In that case I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back, so that it cannot be potentially used against somebody else.”
While O’Rourke seemed to concede that law enforcement would have to be involved for carrying out his proposal, he quickly moved back to reiterating his faith that Americans will follow the law.
O’Rourke’s previous presidential debate comments, “Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15,” have received numerous negative responses from gun rights advocates in recent weeks. One woman shouted back “hell no, you’re not,” during a recent town hall engagement featuring O’Rourke.
At a recent congressional hearing, one former cop told lawmakers that, when faced with turning over their firearms or becoming a criminal, she and many other Americans “will not comply with an assault weapons ban.“
In practice, fewer than 700 “bump stocks” were turned over since the ATF under the Trump administration instituted a ban. Federal authorities believe hundreds of thousands of the banned devices remain in civilian possession, indicating Americans are unwilling to comply with even the existing laws on firearms.