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Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke likely downgraded his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination from slim to none with the proposal that would force Americans who legally own so-called "assault weapons" to turn them in for a mandatory buyback.

During the Democratic debate last week, O'Rourke made it clear what he had in mind.

"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke said. "And we're not going to allow them to be used against other Americans anymore."

His campaign even began selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Hell yes we're going to take your AR-15."

O'Rourke is banking on national outrage over mass shootings. But he is discounting the millions of Americans who support the Second Amendment — even if they don't own an AR-15 or AK-47.

And he seems deaf to just how his words feed longheld fears the Democrats want to disarm the public. Even his fellow Democrats recognize O'Rourke's extreme views are damaging to the party.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, told CNN Friday that O'Rourke's words "will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns."

We wouldn't doubt that for a second.

Brushing off the criticism, O'Rourke doubled down on his plan Sunday on "Meet the Press." He will probably continue to do so as long as he remains in the race. And for President Donald Trump and Republicans, that makes Beto O'Rourke the gift that keeps on giving.

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