Slate, by Elliot Hannon, Sept 13, 2019
Beto O’Rourke was uniquely outspoken in his calls for gun control during Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Houston. The former Texas congressman, whose hometown of El Paso recently was the victim of a mass shooting at a Walmart, was asked if he’d take away assault-style weapons that are often used in mass shootings. “Hell yes,” O’Rourke responded. “We’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”
It seemed inevitable that O’Rourke’s call to ban ownership of military-style weapons would rile up the guns=distilled liberty true believers online, but it was, perhaps predictably, an elected Republican official—from the state of Texas no less—who led the way over the cliff. Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted a not-so-thinly veiled threat at the presidential contender, tweeting, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis,” calling O’Rourke, whose nickname is Beto, by his first and middle names.
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
The O’Rourke campaign said it reported the 34-year-old state representative’s tweet to the FBI. Twitter took down the tweet, saying it had violated its terms of service. “It violates our rules for threats of violence,” a company spokesperson said late Thursday night. “You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people.”