Flashback: PolitiFact Rated Cruz’s Claim That Beto Wants to ‘Take Our Guns’ False

Democratic presidential candidate former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News …
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PolitiFact rated Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) claim that his former political challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) wanted to “take our guns” away “false” on its Truth-O-Meter last year.

Last year, Ted Cruz for Senate released a parody of “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” opening up with the line, “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.” The song also states, “Beto wants those open borders and wants to take our guns.”

PolitiFact rated the claims “false” on the Truth-O-Meter, explaining that O’Rourke had “not called for opening the borders or for government agents to take guns from law-abiding residents.”

It explained:

O’Rourke told us by phone: “My intent is for AR-15s not to be sold to the public.” A word: The AR-15 is a derivative of a semi-automatic rifle first developed by gunmaker ArmaLite in the 1950s. The AR refers to ArmaLite rifle, and does not stand for “assault rifle.” As of 2016, there were between 6 million and 10 million of these semi-automatic rifles in U.S. circulation. The NRA refers to this style of weapon as a “modern sporting rifle.”

To our inquiry, Richard Luchette, a Cicilline aide, noted by email that the O’Rourke-backed proposal exempts from the ban 2,258 “legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns that are named by make and model and specifically exempted from the ban. There are a couple other exemptions too – antique weapons, weapons used by the military and law enforcement, weapons owned at the time of the bill’s enactment, and any firearm that is operated by a bolt, pump, lever, or slide action,” Luchette wrote.

We noticed otherwise that the measure authorizes federal funds to be spent on government “buy-back” programs for semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition feeding devices.

But we saw no language authorizing or directing officials to take existing guns.

The PolitiFact flashback follows O’Rourke’s emphatic admission of his intentions to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during the third presidential debate in Houston, Texas, on Thursday evening.

“Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell them to the government, all of them,” moderator David Muir stated. “You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?”

O’Rourke admitted he is, in fact, proposing to take guns away.

“I am, if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield–” he began, pausing due to applause.

He continued (emphasis added):

If the high impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body, because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.

When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time, hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.

O’Rourke’s other claim – of ambulance shortages in the city – was strongly disputed by the City of Odessa.

After the debate, O’Rourke claimed that “none of our rights are absolute.”

“I think the precedent and common sense is pretty clear on this, that none of our rights are absolute; that there are some common sense limitations to them,” he stated.

He also tweeted out his latest campaign swag, including a shirt that reads, “Hell yes. We’re going to take your AR-15” in red, white, and blue:


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