- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday that Beto O’Rourke isn’t coming anywhere near his guns after the 2020 presidential hopeful announced his plan for a mandatory, federal assault weapons “buyback.”

“Beto’s one human being. He gave his own opinion, OK?” the West Virginia senator told The Wall Street Journal’s Lindsay Wise.

“I think it was very harmful to make it look like all the Democrats,” he reportedly said. “I can tell you one thing: Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that, OK?”

Mr. O’Rourke has proposed that, if elected president, he would use local law enforcement to ensure that all Americans turn their “assault weapons” over to the federal government.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” the former congressman declared during last week’s Democratic presidential primary debate.

The proposal has troubled more moderate Democrats such as presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, an Indiana mayor who said it plays into the hands of Republicans who want to paint the party as anti-Second Amendment. Other candidates, such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, have called the buyback a good idea.

President Trump on Wednesday called Mr. O’Rourke a “dummy” for the proposal.

“Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal,” the president tweeted. “Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away. Will continue forward!”

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