In a feverish exchange over how best to disarm American gun owners of their semiautomatic modern sporting rifles during the Tuesday Democratic debate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg resorted to a favorite tactic of the gun prohibition movement: get around disagreements on policy by demonizing the National Rifle Association.
“Everyone on this stage is determined to get something done,” Buttigieg barked at fellow candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. “Everyone on this stage recognizes, or at least I thought we did, that the problem is not other Democrats who don’t agree with your particular idea of how to handle this, the problem is the National Rifle Association and their enablers in Congress and we should be united in taking the fight to them.”
This came after the South Bend, Indiana mayor took the former Texas congressman to the mat for suggesting that politicians could take a lesson from the teens who created the March for Our Lives gun control crusade, at which point Buttigieg told him, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.”
It was as close to a school yard fistfight from a different generation that either Democrat on a flagless stage might have come.
It all began when Buttigieg was questioned about his reference to O’Rourke’s mandatory “buyback” proposal as “confiscation” during the debate broadcast by CNN.
While Buttigieg appears to have gotten a boost for verbally beating up on O’Rourke, his subsequent remarks are alarming when one slows down long enough to read and analyze them.
“We can’t wait,” Buttigieg told O’Rourke. “People are dying in the streets right now. We can’t wait for universal background checks that we finally have a shot to actually get through. We can’t wait to ban the sale of new weapons and high capacity magazines so we don’t end up with millions more of these things on the street. We can’t wait for red flag laws that are going to disarm domestic abusers and prevent suicides which re not being talked about nearly enough as a huge part of the gun violence epidemic in this country. We cannot wait for purity tests we just have to get something done.”
So, rather than follow this country’s legislative process, was Buttigieg suggesting that the firearms in question need to be banned immediately?
There are an estimated 15 to 18 million semi-auto rifles in private hands. There are 5 million NRA members, so Buttigieg wasn’t really just advocating “taking the fight” to the gun rights group. His ultimate target is the American gun owner, regardless of NRA affiliation.
O’Rourke reiterated his belief that these law-abiding citizens would obey a ban and line up to turn in their firearms in some sort of “buyback” program.
Pressed Wednesday by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough for details on how this might be accomplished if gun owners did not submit to disarmament, O’Rourke made it clear: “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.”
Between them, Buttigieg and O’Rourke appear to be confirming exactly what the NRA and other rights organizations have been saying for years. The Left, represented by the current crop of Democrat presidential hopefuls, is determined to disarm gun owners, and if those gun owners don’t cooperate, they’ll send police to the front door. In years past, NRA and other gun groups have been sneeringly dismissed as paranoids for making this argument. It’s not paranoia when they really are out to get you, as the saying goes.
The more Democrats debate how to solve so-called “gun violence,” the more they affirm what Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said weeks ago after O’Rourke first declared “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-41.”
“Democrats,” Gottlieb said at the time, “have just graduated from being the ‘party of gun control’ to officially being the ‘party of gun confiscation,’ and nobody in the firearms community is going to forget that.”