Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and candidate for president competing for the nomination within the Democratic Party’s primaries, said on Thursday night during a debate that he was in favor of a gun buyback program for assault weapons.
A state lawmaker in Texas didn’t like what O’Rourke had to say, and issued a tweet that the candidate has described as a death threat.
O’Rourke described the carnage that the body goes through when it is struck by bullets discharged by assault weapons like an AR-15.
“In Odessa” — a site where a recent mass shooting resulted in at least seven individuals being killed — “I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15,” O’Rourke explained on the debate stage.
He went onto say he supported a buyback of such weaponry. “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15s, your AK-47s, we are not going to allow them to be used against fellow Americans any more,” O’Rourke said, per reporting from Newsweek.
A Texas state representative, Republican Briscoe Cain, responded to O’Rourke’s remarks via tweet. “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis,” Cain said, replying to O’Rourke’s position using his birth name.
Twitter has since deleted the tweet from Cain, but not before it was screenshot and replied to by a number of social media users. O’Rourke himself responded to the commentary provided by Cain.
This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else. pic.twitter.com/jsiZmwjMDs
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
“This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else,” O’Rourke said.
Cain tried to defend his statements, insisting they weren’t a threat. “Beto absolutely knows that’s not true, at all,” he said, per reporting from Fox 26 in Houston.
“The real concern should be with candidates for President discussing the violation of constitutional rights,” Cain added. “Had he said ‘I’m going to silence you, and take away your free speech’, we’d all be upset. He’s doing the same thing there.”
O’Rourke’s campaign said it was taking Cain’s statements seriously, adding that they were planning to alert the FBI to what he had initially said in his deleted tweet.
Featured image credit via Gage Skidmore/Flickr