Democratic presidential candidate former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) revealed on Wednesday that if elected to the presidency, he will enforce a nationwide gun confiscation program by fining any American who does not hand over their firearms to the government.
“I begin by saying that we expect our fellow Americans to follow the law,” O’Rourke told reporters while on the campaign trail. “If they do not, there would be a fine imposed to compel them to follow the law.”
The former congressman has faced massive backlash for demanding that the federal government seize millions of firearms from law-abiding citizens. However, he has also been noticeably vague about how the federally mandated program would work in the event that Americans refuse to voluntarily turn in their firearms.
“We’ve seen this implemented successfully in Australia, where you’ve seen a near-50% reduction in gun violence deaths in that country,” O’Rourke said. “They estimate that between 16 and 20 mass shootings have been averted so far.”
“Take it from the people in El Paso and Midland-Odessa, if we can avoid one of those mass shootings, we absolutely should,” he continued. “And if we can do so while protecting your Second Amendment rights — you still have a gun to hunt, you still have a gun to protect yourself, you can still take your kids out and teach them how to use those firearms or take them on a hunting trip — then let’s do that. And that’s the path that’s open to us right now in this country.”
O’Rourke’s demand for a nationwide gun grab comes as he has been facing mounting pressure to drop out of the presidential race. Instead of ending his campaign, he re-branded it for a third time in August with a primary focus on his anti-gun platform.
O’Rourke was the first major 2020 Democratic candidate to endorse a government-run gun confiscation program for so-called “assault weapons,” but a host of his primary challengers have since followed suit. To date, none of the candidates have provided a clear definition of what constitutes an “assault weapon.”
The former Texas lawmaker faced a wave of criticism for what many consider to be a dangerous proposal — implementing such a program could lead to violent clashes, as Americans fear that they would be losing their right to defend themselves and their families.
O’Rourke has responded to the alarm bells by contending that his program would not require law enforcement to go to the homes of gun owners to seize the newly prohibited firearms. He also criticized the warnings as “not helpful” because they are “self-fulfilling.”
“How do we enforce any law?” O’Rourke replied when last week when asked about the logistics of is plan. “I mean, there’s a significant reliance on people complying with the law.”
“You know, that law is not created in a vacuum, it will have the input of members of Congress who are going to reflect their constituents’ interests,” he continued. “And, at the end of the day, I think we’re going to get to a solution that protects your Second Amendment rights while protecting the lives of everyone in this country. I’m confident America can do it.”