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Beto O'Rourke is taking flak from other Democratic presidential contenders for supporting mass confiscation of military-style rifles, a proposal several of them view as an impractical campaign gimmick. Although they are right about that, all the Democratic candidates are guilty of magical thinking on this issue, because they support an "assault weapon" ban that cannot reasonably be expected to have a measurable impact on gun violence.
"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15," O'Rourke declared during last month's Democratic presidential debate. The former Texas congressman, whose campaign immediately started selling T-shirts emblazoned with that threat, clearly thinks it will appeal to Democratic primary voters.
But O'Rourke has not given much thought to how he would translate his slogan into reality. During last week's Democratic debate, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked O'Rourke how he would confiscate 16 million or so guns, since "you don't even know who has those weapons."
O'Rourke's response: "I expect my fellow Americans to follow the law." He repeated that line the next day, when CNN's Alisyn Camerota pressed him to explain how he would "get assault weapons away from people who don't want to give them up."
Camerota was incredulous. "You expect mass shooters to follow the law?" she asked. "Our fellow Americans will follow the law," he insisted. "Yes."
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