Presidential candidate Robert (Beto) O'Rourke, D-Texas, has caused a stir in the media and among law-abiding gun owners and non-gun owners alike with recent comments made during the past democratic presidential debate. In the debate, O'Rourke said, "(Expletive) yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."
O'Rourke' proposal to require Americans to turn in AR-15s and AK-47s as part of a mandatory government buyback is not a new one. For at least four decades, buyback proposals have been presented.
In the mind of the majority of law-abiding gun owners, the thought is that buybacks are a farce and are a step toward confiscation of all firearms. Say what you will, that thought process is a very real fact and one that millions of law-abiding citizens will balk at if it became a requirement.
Even some of O'Rourke's fellow democrats are saying the position on mandatory buybacks is going too far. MSNBC's liberal talk show host Chris Matthews called the idea "extreme" and said the mandatory buyback proposal was a losing issue.
Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that it was harmful to make it look like it was an idea supported by all democrats. He reportedly added, "I can tell you one thing: Beto O'Rourke's not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that, OK?"
The vast majority of law-abiding gun owners think the same as Senator Manchin. Even if the proposal somehow became a law, there are many problems that would follow, and there really isn't a way to reach the goal of getting all of them back.
First, realize the ones in the hands of criminals are not coming back. Period. Criminals and those already forbidden to have them are not going to turn them in to authorities.
Second, many gun owners would struggle with taking them to the buyback point and handing them over. There are some that would, but realize many would rebel at the notion and would not obey this law.
Third, there are at least 10-15 million AR-15s in this country and an estimated 150 million gun owners. The hundreds of firearm laws on the books today are not fully enforced, and this is an idea not supported by many police officers. Realistically O'Rourke's idea would not even be implemented.
That leads me into the fourth reason. In the mind of many law-abiding gun owners, the thought of a government official with a gun coming to someone's home and taking their gun away is tyranny and is why the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution. Again, think what you want, but that is the mindset of many law-abiding gun owners, and it is one they would stand up against.
Some cities have tried this idea, offering $100 for every gun turned in. I know some who turned in cheap guns that were not worth that price and got their $100 each, took the money and bought newer firearms, including AR-15s, making a mockery of the intended purpose of the buyback program.
Politicians and others can point to other countries all they want, but America is different, and many good law-abiding Americans have a different mindset than those in other places.
Those seeking elected offices need to stop the rhetoric and realize gun buyback proposals won't stop the crime like they hope and will only affect the law-abiding gun owner. It is a losing issue and one that will not work in America.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.