One of the more interesting exchanges during the Democratic presidential debate that took place in October occurred between Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke over the latter’s gun confiscation scheme. O’Rourke has proposed that every privately-owned AR-15 and AK-47, which he calls “assault rifles”, be taken from their owners in what he calls a “buyback” program similar to what occurred in Australia a few years ago.
Buttigieg, who favors enhanced background checks for gun purchases, “red flag” laws that would take guns from people who are judged to be a danger to themselves and others, and the banning of so-called assault rifles, thinks that Beto’s measure goes a little too far.
Beto’s proposal and Buttigieg’s response to it has resulted in a tense back and forth between the two men that flared up during the debate, according to Fox News. The exchange started when one of the CNN moderators asked how Beto expected to enforce his new decree. He replied that he would expect gun owners to follow the law.
Buttigieg suggested that Beto’s response “lack clarity.” He added that people who favor “common-sense gun safety” laws do not need to be hung up on “purity tests.” He called Beto’s proposal a “shiny object.”
At that point, Beto lost control of himself, as Fox News relates.
’This is not a purity test,’ O’Rourke fired back, emphasizing that if the federal government banned the sale of assault weapons, it made sense that existing weapons need to be removed from the streets.
“And he charged that Buttigieg’s ‘shiny object’ criticism was a ‘slap in the face…to those who have survived gun violence, those who’ve lost a loved one to an AR-15, an AK-47. O’Rourke also indirectly suggested that was Buttigieg was being cautious on backing a mandatory buyback program due to poll testing and focus groups.”
It was at this point, Buttigieg fired back, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage.”
Whether he knew it or not, O’Rourke had fallen neatly into a trap that had been set by Buttigieg. Buttigieg, before starting his political career as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana served in the military. He was a Naval Reserve officer serving in Afghanistan as part of an intelligence unit that ferreted out and disrupted terrorists’ financial networks. He also served as a driver for his commanding officer on the route between Bagram Air Force Base and Kabul that was beset by ambushes and IEDs.
Beto O’Rourke has not served in the military, needless to say.
Later during the debate, one of the moderators asked Beto what he would do to enforce his gun buyback scheme if people refused to comply. He hinted that “other consequences” would be imposed at that point. What those consequences might be was left to the imagination, but Hot Air took a good guess.
“It’s difficult to imagine what the ‘other consequences’ are aside from having police or sheriff’s deputies show up at your house and forcibly remove the firearms. And that’s not a job that any of our law enforcement officers are going to be looking forward to. Sure, most law-abiding people are going to wind up complying, but there’s always the chance that you’ll be heading to the home of somebody with a ‘come and get ’em’ attitude and things could turn ugly quickly.”
One of the most dangerous things a police officer can do is to enter a home or some other building where hostiles may lurk. Tragedy can result when an error in judgment under split-second timing causes the officer to shoot what turns out to be an innocent civilian.
Beto has two examples to think about coming from his home state of Texas. Recently, a female police officer was convicted of murder when she entered a man’s apartment, thinking it was her own, she said and shot its occupant while he was eating ice cream on his couch. More recently, another police officer, summoned to a home where the door was opened in the early morning hours, shot the woman resident through the window, thinking that she might be an intruder. The former incident took place in Dallas and the latter in Fort Worth.
One might conclude that Buttigieg is right. Beto has not thought his gun confiscation scheme through.