The best line here comes from Sunny Hostin, rushing to the aid of Booker as he insists that a gun buyback really would be feasible. Surely law-abiding people would follow the law, she offers obliviously.
Good point, Sunny. The eternal threat of gun crimes committed by the law-abiding would at last be neutralized.
Anyway, this is worth watching just to see how glib Booker is about the logistics of a buyback. McCain presses him more than once, noting that some people who own AR-15s won’t surrender them. What then? Booker was asked that question six weeks ago and gave the same answer then as he does now: We did it with machine guns, right? But … we didn’t really do it with machine guns, as I noted at the time. We banned the manufacture of machine guns prospectively; we didn’t go around confiscating them. It remains legal at this very moment to own a machine gun made before 1986 provided you’re willing to shell out big bucks and jump through numerous regulatory hoops.
Even if we wanted to confiscate machine guns, that problem is apples to oranges vis-a-vis confiscating assault rifles, of which there are many millions in circulation. McCain should have countered by suggesting that we pass a mandatory buyback for marijuana too, with police tasked with going door to door to make sure everyone’s complying. Why not? If we’re going to force cops to shoulder a massive new enforcement burden targeting a group of people who are almost uniformly not dangerous to anyone else, might as well extend the concept.
As goofy and politically damaging to his party as Beto’s confiscation plan is, at least he sort of grapples with the implications of what he’s calling for. As he’s been asked repeatedly how he’d implement it, he’s gotten bolder about admitting that yes, of course it would sometimes involve a knock at the door from PD. Booker seems uninterested in the details. Coming from him, seizing guns feels less like a concrete policy proposal than something grandly aspirational that synthesizes the spirit of his campaign, like Kennedy vowing to go to the moon in the early 1960s. The nerds can figure out how to actually do it. The important thing politically is to project a can-do “all things are possible” attitude that gives the candidate a sunny, youthful, optimistic shine. Too many guns in America? Well, we’ll just get rid of ’em. We’ve done it before, supposedly. Believe, Meghan. Open your heart and your mind and believe.