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The right wing thought it had received a gift when former congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke confidently announced at last week’s debate, “Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15!”

The National Rifle Association launched a campaign to build up its membership lists pointing to it. Some Democrats denounced it. Donald Trump even used it as an excuse to not do anything about gun violence.

But on Thursday, a pollster best known for his many Fox News appearances released a poll showing that the majority of Americans actually do support his proposal for a mandatory buyback of semi-automatic assault-style rifles.

Scott Rasmussen wrote: “Fifty-one percent (51 percent) of voters at least somewhat favor a mandatory buyback of all semi-automatic weapons. A ScottRasmussen.com nation survey found that 36 percent are opposed and 13 percent not sure.”

He noted that “just 24 percent of all voters think it is even somewhat likely that most owners of those weapons would actually turn their weapons over” if such a law were enacted — suggesting that few Americans believe assault weapons owners are actually “law-abiding citizens” (as the NRA so often claims).

Rasmussen, a conservative-leaning pollster and pundit, has previously written for the far-right conspiracy site WorldNetDaily. The Washington Post noted in 2010 that Rasmussen is “an articulate and frequent guest on Fox News and other outlets, where his nominally nonpartisan data is often cited to support Republican talking points.”

The conservative Washington Examiner reported Rasmussen’s latest findings with astonishment. “Gun shock: Majority support ‘mandatory buybacks’ of AR-15s,” its headline blared.

O’Rourke makes his home in El Paso, Texas, where a man with an anti-immigrant view similar to that of Donald Trump shot and killed 22 people last month, injuring dozens more, using an assault-style rifle.

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