(The Center Square) – The Republican Party of Texas has a message for President Joe Biden in response to his pledge to ban so-called assault weapons in the U.S.: “Come and take it.”
The phrase is known to Texans as the rallying cry that sparked the Texas Revolution on Oct. 2, 1835, in Gonzalez, Texas. The Mexican Army attempted to take a small cannon that was largely ineffective but used as a scare tactic to thwart Comanche raids and Texans weren’t giving it up without a fight. Their fight ultimately ended in an 18-minute battle in San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Bruen, which upheld the Second Amendment rights of Americans, President Joe Biden continues to vow to ban so-called assault rifles. Over the weekend, he tweeted, “It’s time we ban assault weapons in this country.”
In response, the Texas GOP tweeted, “Come and Take It.”
On Friday, in a speech to the National Education Association, Biden also claimed “the bullet out of an AR-15 travels five times as rapidly as a bullet shot out of any other gun.”
It’s a claim he’s made before, which The Washington Post says is false. He’s also repeatedly claimed that cannons were banned from private ownership when Congress ratified the Second Amendment, which the Washington Post also noted is false.
According to a 2020 Field & Stream report, none of the five fastest rifle cartridges include the AR-15. The fastest is the .220 Swift introduced by Winchester in 1935, which was the first rifle round to break the 4,000 feet per second mark. AR-15 rounds travel 2,700-3,100 fps, according to its analysis.
Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, said “the White House is ramping up the President’s call to ban ‘assault weapons’ before the midterm elections.”
He also notes that AR-15s “are no more powerful than other semi-automatic rifles of the same caliber and actually have a lower caliber than some commonly sold weapons which use .30-06, .308 and .300 ammunition; many of these guns fire at the same – or near the same rate – as the AR-15. None of these weapons are classified as actual military ‘assault weapons.’”
While not a top issue for Texas voters in the November election according to a recent poll, the Republican and Democratic parties of Texas have their own platforms on Second Amendment issues.
The Texas GOP urged the Texas legislature to pass a permitless carry bill for years, which it did last year, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law.
The Texas GOP’s platform calls on the state legislature and Congress to repeal and/or nullify the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. It supports passing unrestricted Constitutional Carry by amending the Texas Constitution; supports nullifying any gun laws that violate the Second Amendment or rights of due process; supports national reciprocity for gun ownership rights; supports recognizing the right of License to Carry holders to carry anywhere that off-duty or retired law enforcement can carry, among other measures.
The Texas Democratic Party platform calls on state leaders “to preserve Second Amendment rights while implementing prudent safeguards against needless suicides, senseless mass murders, tragic accidents, and interpersonal violence.” These include compiling a registry of people with violent histories, enacting an Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, mandating a temporary surrender of all guns by those with protective orders or who’ve been convicted of a violent misdemeanor or felony; implementing universal background checks and waiting periods; imposing restrictions on gun show and private sales of firearms; banning the sale of assault weapons; prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or possession of bump stocks, binary trigger systems, trigger cranks, attachable silencers, and magazine clips that hold over 10 rounds; prohibiting open carry, repealing campus carry, among others.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke supports the party platform and famously declared in 2019, “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15.”
Last year, he backtracked on the claim but reversed again after the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. He told reporters in June, “Right there, if you want a solution, stop selling AR-15s in the state of Texas.”
His campaign issued a statement saying O’Rourke is “prioritizing commonsense gun safety reforms that have broad, bipartisan support across the state,” which includes “popular policies” like “repealing permitless carry, passing universal background checks, implementing red flag laws, enacting safe storage laws, and keeping weapons of war on the battlefield by preventing their sale in our communities.”
When Abbott was Texas attorney general, he championed the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Heller, which struck down a handgun ban and upheld the Second Amendment. He also was one of the first AGs to challenge the Obama administration when it sought to use the United Nations to regulate guns in the U.S.
As governor, he signed into law campus carry, open carry and other laws to protect gun owners.
Since 2019, nearly half of first-time gun buyers were women; from 2019 to January 2022, 3.5 million women became first time firearm owners in the U.S., according to the National Firearms Survey.
During the first half of 2020, the highest overall firearm sales increase came from Black men and women, a 58.2% increase, according to a 2020 National Sports Shooting Foundation Firearms Retailer Survey.