The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s daily Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:
Gun control talk continues on Capitol Hill, and Democrats are distancing their legislative efforts from the brazen gun confiscation pledge made by one of the presidential candidates last week.
In response to 2020 presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” comment at the third Democratic debate, and President Donald Trump’s complaints that it’s made working on gun control more difficult, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “I don’t know of any other Democrat who agrees with Beto O’Rourke, but it’s no excuse not to go forward” with new gun control.
Joe Manchin, who has sponsored a background check bill along with Republican Pat Toomey, went a step farther than Schumer. “Beto’s one human being. He gave his own opinion, OK?” the West Virginia Democrat said Wednesday. “I can tell you one thing: [O’Rourke’s] not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that, OK?”
At the same time, Trump administration officials have reportedly been pitching GOP lawmakers on a gun control package “consistent” with Manchin and Toomey’s bill that would expand background check requirements to “all advertised commercial sales.” But the reception to the idea was said to be “frosty.”
As I explained last week, O’Rourke’s comments confirmed a long-standing concern that gun rights advocates have about even piecemeal gun control measures: All roads ultimately lead to outright confiscation. And with that “hell yeah” pledge in the forefront of a lot of voters’ minds for the time being, trying to sell them gun control is going to be a lot more difficult, if even possible.