A Republican lawmaker from Texas made what Beto O’Rourke called a „death threat“ against the Democratic presidential candidate on Twitter, prompting a report to the FBI.
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It began on the stage of the third Democratic presidential candidate’s debate Thursday night.
In response to a question about his proposal that owners of assault weapons be forced to sell them to the government, O’Rourke said, „Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.“
The comment was met with sustained applause and the candidate’s account later tweeted the line.
Texas state Rep. Brisco Cain, a pro-gun, Republican lawmaker, responded on Twitter, „My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.“
O’Rourke’s birth name is Robert Francis O’Rourke, and he has been mocked by Republican lawmakers for using his nickname, Beto.
Within hours, Twitter removed the tweet for violating its terms of service, but not before O’Rourke took a screenshot.
He responded with his own tweet, saying, „This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else.“
Cain replied, „You’re a child Robert Francis.“
The O’Rourke campaign is reporting the original tweet from Cain to the FBI, a campaign official told ABC News.
Twitter users responded with disbelief, and Cain called one commenter „an idiot.“
You’re an idiot.
— 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐨𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐢𝐧 (@BriscoeCain) September 13, 2019
Cain is a member of the Texas House of Representatives for House District 128, which covers an area east of Houston, where the debate was held.
He is a member of the newly formed Texas Freedom Caucus and has been outspoken against O’Rourke’s proposed ban and mandatory buy-back.
Earlier this month, he wrote on Twitter, addressing O’Rourke, „I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.“
O’Rourke has been particularly outspoken about banning military-style assault weapons and instituting a mandatory buy-back scheme since a man in an El Paso Walmart last month killed 22 people and injured dozens more. The suspect is thought to have used an AK-style rifle. El Paso is O’Rourke’s hometown.
Most candidates in the Democratic debate on Thursday night made statements or commitments about regulating guns.