Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) revealed on Friday that if he is elected to the office of the presidency, he will authorize a surcharge on companies that manufacture firearms in order to fund his proposed federally mandated gun confiscation plan.
“I think a mandatory buyback can be financed with a surcharge that would be paid by gun manufacturers,” O’Rourke told CBS News reporter Tim Perry. “Those who are making the AR-15s and AK-47s, and continue to sell them into our communities despite the terror that they have inspired and the lives that they have taken.”
“I think this is the right way to fund a mandatory buyback, without imposing any new taxes on our fellow Americans,” he added.
The former congressman has faced widespread criticism for demanding that the federal government seize millions of firearms from law-abiding citizens. However, he has also been notably vague about many aspects of the proposed government-run program, including how much it would cost American taxpayers.
O’Rourke was the first major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to endorse a nationwide gun confiscation program for so-called “assault weapons,” but a host of his primary challengers have since followed suit, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). To date, none of the candidates have provided a clear definition of what they believe constitutes an “assault weapon.”
While O’Rourke has stated that his proposal would not require law enforcement officers to go door-to-door to confiscate weapons, he has yet to explain how the law would be enforced in the event that Americans refuse to voluntarily turn over their own firearms to the government.
Perry pressed O’Rourke further on whether the plan is too “retroactive” given that he would not be proactively taking firearms off the street.
“If we’re able to pass mandatory buybacks, if I’m able to sign that into law, then I fully expect our fellow Americans to turn in their AR-15s and their AK-47s,” O’Rourke replied. “For anyone who does not and is caught in possession or seen in possession of one of these weapons of war, one of these instruments of terror, that weapon will be taken from them, and they will be fined.”
“And if they should persist in continuing to use and to buy these weapons, there will be other consequences in the criminal code,” he added without elaborating.
The Democratic presidential hopeful’s gun confiscation plan is so radical that even members of his own party have been distancing themselves from it. Many Democrats, including those in leadership, have been sounding the alarm that such an anti-Second Amendment idea will backfire and simply fire up the Republican base.
O’Rourke, however, has touted the bipartisan condemnation as a signal that the former Texas lawmaker is being authentic.
“It shows me we are doing something right,” O’Rourke told reporters when asked about both President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s disapproval.
O’Rourke has repeatedly claimed that he is not “talking about confiscating anybody’s guns.” PolitiFact, the left-leaning fact check site, has rated that claim as “false.”