Beto Calls for Disarming Civilians at Kent State, Where National Guardsman Shot Protesters

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

On Thursday, struggling 2020 Democrat former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) called for a government seizure of citizens’ guns — at the site where government-armed troops opened fire on civilian protesters. To make matters worse, he chided a group of protesters who brought their own firearms in an open carry demonstration. Had the protesters at the 1970 Kent State University shooting also carried firearms, the outcome would have been very different.


“It is not enough to stop selling AR-15s and AK-47s when there are more than 10 million of those potential instruments of terror,” O’Rourke said at Kent State. “We must mandate that every one of them be bought back – back home, off the streets, out of our lives – no longer a threat to every single one of us.”

Turning to the few civilian protesters who took part in the open carry demonstration, he said, “Nobody should show up with one of these weapons to seek to intimidate us in our own democracy. That’s wrong. That’s wrong.”

Reason‘s Eric Boehm pointed out the irony. In 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd protesting America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The shooting left four students dead and nine others wounded. The guns involved were not in the hands of civilians, but in the hands of government.

Ironically, O’Rourke went to the site where government-armed troops killed protesters and advocated for a government takeover of firearms — urging it as a safety measure.


O’Rourke’s remarks were part of the university’s yearlong 50th-anniversary commemoration of the shooting, which took place on May 4, 1970.

Kent State alumnus Brett Pucillo organized the open carry demonstration, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The president of Ohio Carry, Pucillo graduated in 2010. “People assume every gun is an automatic killing machine, and we’d be happy to go over what guns are and what they actually do,” he told the paper.

When it comes to the 1970 shooting, the protester said he would have preferred to be armed if he were present. “I obviously can’t speak for anyone else, but if I was on campus during that time, I would have wanted a gun to defend myself and not wait for someone else to come with a gun to defend me,” he said.

Americans still have that option, but Beto O’Rourke is working to make sure they won’t in the future. In fact, he said it’s “wrong” for protesters to be armed, in case they have to defend themselves against a potentially hostile government force. The irony of him delivering that message at Kent State should not be lost on anyone.

O’Rourke wants the government to have all the guns, and he’s not afraid to demand that in the very place where the government demonstrated that it cannot always be trusted. In fact, the man who aspires to wield the awesome power of the U.S. military is attacking civilians for their audacity to defend themselves from his potential tyranny.


The former congressman is not likely to become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, much less the next president. However, Democrats have recently pushed the issue of gun control in the wake of recent shootings. Beto’s remarks at Kent State should cast a pall on the entire Democratic Party, or at least on those who vocally support his gun control advocacy. And remember, the very same candidate who said, “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15” in the latest presidential debate had campaigned in Texas saying, “If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it.”

If you like your Second Amendment, you can keep it. That sure sounds familiar…

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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