Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson reiterated her support for an "assault weapons" ban in a new interview, but said a confiscation scheme like that proposed by presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke was neither possible nor lawful.
On WGAU's "Mission: TimPossible" podcast, host Tim Bryant noted O'Rourke's pronouncement that his hypothetical administration would confiscate semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47 through a "mandatory" buyback program.
Asked for her thoughts, Tomlinson distanced herself from O'Rourke, despite previously lavishing praise on him on social media.
"I don't know Beto O'Rourke obviously, but I can only imagine the trauma that they've experienced with the murders there," Tomlinson said. "I do not, however, believe that confiscation is possible or lawful, and that's my lawyer background talking there."
Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, Ga., said she understood calls for mandatory buybacks in response to recent mass shootings, even if she disagreed with the idea.
"The better way to do it, frankly, is to have an assault weapons ban," she said.
Bryant cut in to say an "assault weapons" ban of some form already exists, pointing out he couldn't own an automatic rifle.
"I suppose we need to define what we mean when we say assault weapons," Bryant said.
"But there are definitions. You know there's definitions related to how quickly they load the chamber and so forth," Tomlinson said. "So there are definitions related to that, and you can Google them and look them up."
Tomlinson said there was strong public pressure to get "semi-automatic assault rifles" off the street. She said she would call for a ban, then limit gun owners' ability to sell or otherwise transfer their guns, which she says would lead to a market for a buyback program.
"You can't do a buyback right now," Tomlinson said. "I could sit at the table … Say ‘hey, you know, bring your weapon, we'll pay you for them.' Well, all they're going to bring are the broken weapons, the ones they don't want to use, because they're getting them from other places, anywhere they want it."
"You've got to decide what it is you want to limit and why," she added. "There's all sorts of foundations and nonprofit organizations that would love to invest in buyback programs."
Tomlinson praised O'Rourke in January, saying she loved his "energy." She shared in December her excitement about the possibility O'Rourke and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams could make up the 2020 presidential ticket.
My husband thinks it’s going to be a Beto/Abrams ticket. Not necessarily in that order! I would love to see Abrams on the ticket. Love Beto’s energy, too. I think we have an awesome field and I’m very much looking forward to a dozen smart leaders pushing progressive principles.
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) January 3, 2019
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) December 14, 2018
A recent CNN fact check delved into the constitutionality of O'Rourke's proposal. The landmark Supreme Court D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 found a ban on handgun possession violated the Second Amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote guns "in common use" were protected, and gun rights scholar Dave Kopel told CNN there was no question rifles like the AR-15 met that definition.
Tomlinson is one of four Democratic hopefuls for the 2020 Senate nomination in Georgia, along with Clarkston, Ga., mayor Ted Terry, failed congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, and failed lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico.
All are running on strongly progressive platforms as they try for the opportunity to knock off Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.). No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate race in Georgia since the late Zell Miller in 2000.
Addressing Tomlinson's support for an assault weapons ban, John Burke of the pro-Perdue Georgia Action Fund told the Free Beacon it was another example of Democrats "racing to the left."
"This is just another example of how Georgia's Democrat Senate candidates are racing to the left and embracing their presidential candidates' radical and unconstitutional agenda on the Second Amendment," he said. "Teresa Tomlinson clearly wants to undermine the constitutional freedoms of the people of Georgia and she can't be trusted to fight for their basic liberties in the United States Senate."