News flash: Texans love their guns. By one estimate, there are about 22 million privately owned firearms here in the Lone Star State. So you’d think that any candidate running for office here would at least pay lip service to that fact, professing — no matter how disingenuously — to respect the Second Amendment and the tradition of civilian firearms ownership.
So it’s probably a good indicator of the leftward-lurch the Democrats have made in the past couple of years that the party’s candidate nominated to challenge a sitting Texas US senator feels he can — or has to — declare that civilians shouldn’t be permitted to buy AR-15 rifles.
El Paso Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, is proud of his campaign’s claim that he shuns political action committee (PAC) money. He criticized Senator (Ted) Cruz for taking $300,000 from the National Rifle Association and boasted that his campaign has taken $0 from the NRA. He told a story about a woman at a town hall who asked him if he could stand up to the NRA. O’Rourke explained that he does not hire consultants, does not talk to pollsters, and does not consult focus groups.
Criticizing Republicans for taking NRA contributions is hardly new. You can hear Dems and the media spouting some version of that on any day that ends in a ‘y’. Declaring for all of Texas to hear, however, that America’s favorite rifle should be banned is more worthy of note.
“There is no reason an AR-15, a weapon of war designed for the sole purpose of taking lives as effectively and as efficiently and [in] as great a number as possible should be sold to civilians to be used in our schools, in our churches, in our concerts, in public life in this country,” O’Rourke said. “I have no idea how that polls, and I could give a shit what the NRA thinks about it because it’s the right thing to do.”
(The relevant part starts at the 26:30 mark.)
We have a pretty good idea exactly how that will poll here.
Who knows? Maybe O’Rourke just got carried away, pontificating before a receptive, gun control-friendly SXSW audience and dropped a dreaded Kinsley gaffe. Whatever. Conventional wisdom, now that the video is out, is that Beto has committed public political seppuku right there on the SXSW stage.
Live shot of Ted Cruz pic.twitter.com/XZ1DkTRpv7
— N/A (@ratiohunter) March 12, 2018
There’s still a long time until the election. And while anything can still happen, Lone Star Republicans seem plenty energized. It might do for a few of Beto’s fellow Dems to remind him that Texas is much more than just Austin.
Does Beto know this is a state wide race?
— SquarestDownOurWay (@Sq_stDownOurWay) March 12, 2018
If he’s somehow forgotten that, he’s probably going to find out the hard way in November.