Law enforcement officials who have previously been critical of gun control measures now have harsh words for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke after he proposed police go home-to-home in order to confiscate AR-15s from American citizens.
O'Rourke was pressed on MSNBC after the fourth Democratic debate on what would be done if someone is not willing to sell their AR-15 to the government, as he suggested.
"Yeah, I think just as in any law that is not followed or flagrantly abused, there have to be consequences or else there is no respect for the law," O'Rourke replied. "So you know, in that case I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back so that it cannot be potentially used against somebody else."
"Mr. O’Rourke is delusional in regards to his gun control ideas," San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari told Townhall, pointing to how the former Texas Senate candidate has gone from allowing people to keep their AR-15s to now wanting to send police to take them away.
"The biggest fear of any free society is the government at your door wanting to take away your rights by force. I do not see the men and women of law enforcement sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution doing this," Ferrari continued."In an act of desperation, Mr. O’Rourke is shamefully using tragedies our country has experienced and fear for his political gain. The very foundation of law enforcement is public trust. Frankly, no one should trust a man who talks out of both sides of his mouth."
"I'm not sure whether his statements are naive or just plain ignorant and arrogant. Maybe it's all three," said Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage. "The thought of anyone utilizing my sheriff's office or any other law enforcement agency in this country as their personal Gestapo to go door to door violating citizen's rights is disgusting, unrealistic and downright un-American."
Cage is concerned if any law enforcement agency participates in O'Rourke's plan on a large scale, "bloodshed would be inevitable," adding that "some of my constituents are already adopting the mantra of 'Come take mine Beto!'...His rhetoric has gotten old and I look forward to the day when he shuts up."
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams told Towhnall he also would have concerns for the safety of his deputies because it would be an "unconstitutional" order and would put them "in the crosshairs."
"I think that you have to be concerned for the safety of the citizen [too] because, at that point, they don't know if law enforcement is coming to protect them or disarm them and that creates a very tense situation."
Reams said he does not know how a candidate would think they would be able to order local police to carry out confiscation if they became president, adding, "I think [Beto] is sorely mistaken if he thinks law enforcement is going to willingly agree to go down that path."
Commenting on the backlash that followed after O'Rourke's comments on Wednesday, Lauren Hitt, his national rapid response director, maintained he would not "send officers door to door to collect weapons - just as we do not send the IRS door to door to collect taxes."
While sheriffs are more willing to oppose gun control laws they deem as being unconstitutional, some law enforcement organizations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), have voiced support for an "assault weapons" ban.
IACP did not return Townhall's request for comment on O'Rourke's proposal.