In the third Democratic debate on Wednesday, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) made it clear he wants to confiscate Americans’ firearms, so long as they are what he considers “weapons of war.” His campaign, liberals, and mainstream media journalists saw this as a stand-out moment, but if Beto takes the Democratic nomination, this video will become one of President Donald Trump’s most powerful attack ads.
O’Rourke told America’s gun owners he would confiscate their guns. He framed it as a distinction between weapons for defense and weapons of war, but the Second Amendment defends Americans’ gun rights in order to arm the militia.
“If it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield,” O’Rourke said he would support taking it away from Americans. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
In passionate answer on gun violence, Beto O'Rourke says, "When we see that being used against children…Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."https://t.co/INdRXlIwFs #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/XqcbTWvR0m
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
A host of liberal celebrities and media figures praised this stand-out moment.
Liberal filmmaker Ava DuVernay called it the debate “highlight so far for me.”
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 13, 2019
Arianna Huffington, founder of HuffPost, noted that Beto got the “biggest applause of the night.”
Biggest applause of the night on O’Rourke: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15!" #DemDebate
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) September 13, 2019
CNN reporter Eric Bradner claimed this was Beto’s “best debate moment yet.”
Beto O’Rourke has his best debate moment yet, arguing for a mandatory buyback of assault weapons.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he says as the crowd erupts. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans any more.”
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) September 13, 2019
PBS News Hour’s Yamiche Alcindor claimed that Beto’s statement “turned Republicans’ argument that Democrats will take away guns on its head.”
BIG: Beto O'Rourke turned Republicans' argument that Democrats will take away guns on its head. He promised to take some of them to stop shootings. "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, AK-47 and we're not going to allow them to be used against fellow Americans anymore."
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) September 13, 2019
Transgender activist, military veteran, and gun owner Charlotte Clymer called O’Rourke’s “take your guns” statement an “absolutely perfect line.”
"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47, and we're not going to allow them to be used against other Americans anymore."
— Beto O'Rourke
Absolutely perfect line. #DemDebate
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 13, 2019
Yet, as Blaze Media’s director of engagement, Jason Howerton, noted, Beto’s standout moment will likely become “one of the most effective campaign ads [Donald Trump] will have during the entire election season.”
When Beto O'Rourke said "hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15," he just recorded one of the most effective campaign ads @realDonaldTrump will have during the entire election season.
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) September 13, 2019
This moment illustrates America’s political polarization perfectly. Democrat Beto O’Rourke has said something clear: he will take away America’s guns so long as he determines they are weapons of war. Liberals cheer, thinking he has notched a victory against supporters of the Second Amendment. Conservatives rightly see a confirmation that liberals want to take away their guns, undermining Americans’ ability to form a militia and undermining their ability to defend their homes if need be.
I’m with Howerton: I think this statement is more of a liability than an asset.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.