What can we conclude from Beto O’Rourke’s “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your…” remark at the third Democratic debate? Note O’Rourke’s use of the subject ‘we’, prospective verb ‘take’, and object ‘your’ in that sentence. Observers correctly say he could not be more clear: government authorities will confiscate citizen’s private property, because government authorities will declare that private property illegal.
Well, what can we conclude?
- First, that the Second Amendment does not apply to privately owned firearms. We know that from the amendment’s opening clause, “A well-regulated Militia…” We don’t care what the rest of the sentence says.
- Second, that O’Rourke will not tolerate massacres in his hometown, El Paso. I understand his feeling of affinity. We would all have similar, sympathetic thoughts. You would not want to formulate a national policy based on those thoughts.
- Third, you cannot solve a problem like massacres by forcible removal of weapons from people’s homes. You might as well remove beer, wine, and gin from people’s homes, because they commit crimes while inebriated. In fact, we tried that.
A point loosely related to Beto O’Rourke’s remark:
Gun control advocates observe that government ought to have a monopoly on the use of force. That includes possession of lethal weapons. Libertarians will respond, no, if disparity exists between weapons in government’s arsenal, and weapons permitted in private homes, remove weapons from government’s arsenal. For example, if private citizens cannot possess nuclear weapons, neither should government.
The “assault weapons” that the presidential contender wants to confiscate are not especially deadly, but the symbolism of that policy is poisonous.