On Thursday night, qualifying candidates took the stage for the third Democratic Party presidential debates. The issue of guns came up, and one candidate in particular expressed his views regarding ownership of assault weapons.
Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, expressed being in favor of a mandatory federal buyback program for such guns. O’Rourke cited the way in which bullets from assault weapons “everything inside your body because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield, not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.”
That led to him taking a passionate stance in favor of buybacks. “When we see that being used against children, hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said, NBC News reported.
The line garnered applause from the audience, but one lawmaker watching the debate sent out a tweet that resulted in the O’Rourke campaign reporting it to the FBI.
An hour after the statement was made, Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Republican, wrote a tweet directed at O’Rourke, calling him by his birth name of Robert.
“My AR is ready for you Robert Francis,” Cain wrote, per reporting from the Washington Post.
Many on social media responded to the tweet, suggesting that it was a threat against the presidential candidate. To one user who wrote as much, Cain responded, “You’re an idiot.”
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
Twitter eventually took down the tweet themselves, citing it as violating their terms of service. O’Rourke ended up replying to the tweet as well, using a screenshot image of it in lieu of the original message being deleted. “This is a death threat, Representative,” O’Rourke wrote. ” Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 — and neither should anyone else.
Cain responded by calling him “a child” in a subsequent reply.
When reached for comment, O’Rourke’s campaign said they were going to report Cain’s tweet to the FBI, Newsweek reported.
Cain, a 34-year-old Republican in the Texas legislature, describes himself on his campaign website as a “proven conservative leader with strong moral convictions always ready to defend Texas and our values from the constant onslaught by progressives against our faith, family, and freedoms.”