Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) accidentally celebrated the change in demand for AR-15s apparently caused by his promise to confiscate such weapons.
Following a lull in his campaign, O’Rourke has rebuilt his 2020 presidential bid on the issue of gun violence after several mass shootings. Part of his plan is to force Americans into a mandatory gun buyback for “weapons of war” or “military-style weapons.”
This triggered many gun owners into bulking up on weapons they believe may be banned in the future. The National Rifle Association (NRA) even jokingly called him “salesman of the month.”
Possibly even of the year… pic.twitter.com/ESnA4Qur93
— NRA (@NRA) September 19, 2019
In response to this troll by the NRA, O’Rourke tweeted them an article from the Associated Press and claimed, “Colt Firearms just announced they’re stopping production of AR-15s.”
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 19, 2019
The problem for O’Rourke was that the change had little to do with his confiscation plan.
In the story, Colt had to change their sales because the market was “already saturated with similar weapons” and they needed to focus on “fulfilling their military and law enforcement contracts” because “saturated with similar weapons.”
In other words, demand was so high that Colt couldn’t keep up and needed to stop producing for the general public. Colt’s CEO Dennis Veilleux said in a statement that the company “remains committed to the Second Amendment and is adapting to consumer demand.”
Twitter users did not let O’Rourke’s error slip by unnoticed. Several hopped online to make fun of the 2020 candidate for his accidental celebration of an uptick in gun sales.
(They didn't. They announced that there are currently enough of their rifles (not just the AR-15) on the market to meet consumer demand, and that they are therefore temporarily switching production to meet their backlog of military orders.) https://t.co/WJZ3yjMO7r
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) September 19, 2019
You realize you don't have to be THAT honest on the salesman self-evaluation form https://t.co/iy1beprRcw
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 19, 2019
How are you so bad at this? pic.twitter.com/cUP9nE778k
— neontaster (@neontaster) September 19, 2019
Because of "excessive manufacturing capacity" for AR-15's, and because they "believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future", Robert. https://t.co/7JFwCe63xn
— Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) September 19, 2019
O’Rourke is one of 20 candidates left in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. He has consistently polled in sixth place in national polls. It remains unclear how his newfound gun platform will impact his race in the long run.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated for clarity after publication.