Democratic presidential contender Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is dead wrong if he thinks police agencies will be willing partners in his plan to take away legal weapons from gun-owning Americans, according to several sheriffs.
At the Democratic debate in September, the former Texas congressman said that if he became president, he would enact a “mandatory buyback” of all AR-15 and AK-47 rifles.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said at the time.
On Wednesday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough pressed O’Rourke to flesh out the details, after O’Rourke said during Tuesday night’s debate that he expected Americans would meekly surrender their guns if the proposal became law.
“There have to be consequences,” O’Rourke told Scarborough. “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 potentially be used against somebody else.”
Sheriffs in New Mexico and Colorado gave that concept a flat-out rejection in comments they made to Townhall.
“Mr. O’Rourke is delusional in regards to his gun control ideas,” San Juan County, New Mexico, Sheriff Shane Ferrari told the website.
Ferrari said that law enforcement is in the business of protecting the rights of Americans, not attacking them.
“The biggest fear of any free society is the government at your door wanting to take away your rights by force. I do not see the men and women of law enforcement sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution doing this,” Ferrari said.
Ferrari also said that the proposal, which followed earlier O’Rourke proposals that were not so draconian, is nothing more than a man trying to rescue his flailing presidential campaign. O’Rourke’s polling average puts him at less than 3 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.
“In an act of desperation, Mr. O’Rourke is shamefully using tragedies our country has experienced and fear for his political gain. The very foundation of law enforcement is public trust. Frankly, no one should trust a man who talks out of both sides of his mouth,” he said.
Another New Mexico sheriff, Mark Cage of Eddy County, said O’Rourke could not be more wrong if he expects local police to do his political bidding.
“I’m not sure whether his statements are naive or just plain ignorant and arrogant. Maybe it’s all three,” Cage said.
“The thought of anyone utilizing my sheriff’s office or any other law enforcement agency in this country as their personal Gestapo to go door to door violating citizen’s rights is disgusting, unrealistic and downright un-American,” he said.
Cage said that inflammatory rhetoric has consequences, saying that national implementation of a gun confiscation program would mean that “bloodshed would be inevitable.”
Opposition is already intense.
“[S]ome of my constituents are already adopting the mantra of, ‘Come take mine, Beto!'” Cage said. “His rhetoric has gotten old and I look forward to the day when he shuts up.”
In Colorado, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said any order to remove guns would be “unconstitutional” and put his deputies “in the crosshairs.”
“I think that you have to be concerned for the safety of the citizen [too] because, at that point, they don’t know if law enforcement is coming to protect them or disarm them and that creates a very tense situation.”
Reams said no presidential contender should believe local police agencies can be forced to implement unconstitutional gun confiscation.
“I think [O’Rourke] is sorely mistaken if he thinks law enforcement is going to willingly agree to go down that path,” he said.
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