Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) sparked criticism from the Left after his call to ban the ownership of ambiguously classified “assault-style rifles.”
This week, O’Rourke held a rally at Kent State University, and several protesters showed up with legally owned rifles. As The Daily Wire’s Molly Prince reported, Beto scolded the protesters.
“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 the rally. “We must mandate that every single one of them be bought back — back home, off the streets, out of our lives. No longer a threat to every to every single one of us.”
The next day, O’Rourke tweeted about the exchange and included a line about the Kent State shootings in 1970.
“Yesterday, people brought assault weapons to our rally at Kent State—where 4 students were shot dead in 1970,” O’Rourke tweeted. “I told them nobody should show up with an AK-47 or an AR-15 to seek to intimidate us in our own democracy. We need to buy back every single one of them.”
Yesterday, people brought assault weapons to our rally at Kent State—where 4 students were shot dead in 1970.
I told them nobody should show up with an AK-47 or an AR-15 to seek to intimidate us in our own democracy.
We need to buy back every single one of them. pic.twitter.com/U7N5fWUlvv
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 26, 2019
The Kent State shootings, O’Rourke seems to forget, were perpetrated by members of the Ohio National Guard, not average citizens. Students at Kent State had been protesting Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War with the “Cambodian Incursion.” There had been protests for years against the war, but they picked up on May 1, 1970. At night, protesters left bars and began throwing beer bottles and breaking windows. Kent police officers were joined by officers from neighboring districts.
LeRoy Satrom, the mayor of Kent, declared a state of emergency and closed down the bars in town. Satrom called Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes to ask that the National Guard be brought in to the town.
It was on May 4, 1970, that the National Guard began firing at students for unknown reasons. The guardsmen had been trying to get the students to disperse, but there was no indication that they were in any danger requiring a violent response.
It was the state that killed the students at Kent State, not a random deranged citizen. O’Rourke’s gun ban would prevent private citizens from owning weapons he deems to be “assault-style rifles” or “weapons of war.” Since most mass shootings and homicides involve handguns, he may include them in his list of “weapons of war” that private citizens cannot own.
O’Rourke’s weapons ban would actually ensure that more Kent State’s happen, as citizens would not be able to defend themselves against a well-armed government. Throughout history, this has never gone well for the unarmed citizens.
O’Rourke’s original call to ban guns appeared limited to weapons used by soldiers. But, again, it was the national guard who opened fire on Kent State students.
“I am, if it is a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield,” O’Rourke said at the third Democratic debate earlier this month in response to a question asking if he was pro the confiscation of guns. “If the high impact high velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers. When we see that being used against children and in Odessa. I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15. And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland [that] there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time.”