Beto O'Rourke Accuses Lawmaker of Death Threat With AR-15 Tweet

State Rep. Briscoe Cain R Deer Park in 2017

State Rep. Briscoe Cain R Deer Park in 2017

"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47", he said. "But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country", O'Rourke concluded.

Cain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Within hours, Twitter took down Briscoe Cain's post, which O'Rourke's campaign labeled a "death threat".

"This is a death threat, Representative", O'Rourke wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a Texas state lawmaker sent a threatening tweet, which O'Rourke reposted with the message, "Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15-and neither should anyone else".

"If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was created to do that so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield ... when we see that being used against children", O'Rourke said.

The Texas state lawmaker's original tweet was removed by Twitter for violating the company's rules, which state that a user "may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people". Asked if he had just threatened to shoot a presidential candidate and former member of Congress, he replied, "You're an idiot".

O'Rourke made the comment during his opening statement in the Democratic debate Thursday. "If the high impact, high velocity round that - when it hits your body - shreds everyhing inside of your body because it was created to do that so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers, when we see that being used against children", he said.

O'Rourke emphasized Friday morning that his buy-back plan was "not voluntary".

"I'm going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundations", O'Rourke said.

Weeks after the El Paso shooting, a 36-year-old man killed seven people and wounded 22 others as he fired at them while he was driving. The first was reportedly pulled from the El Paso Times, and reads, "Trump falsely claimed that El Paso, one of America's safest cities, had "extremely high rates of violent crime" before fences were built". "Nobody wants to take it away from you - at least I don't want to do that". But his forceful "hell, yes" on Thursday became one of the most memorable lines of the presidential debate.

His campaign has even produced a shirt with the slogan. He's long supported buybacks of such weapons.

But it escalated an already tense atmosphere in Texas over guns after two mass shootings in August left 29 people dead. Many cited President Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric on immigrants and people of color for inspiring the act. "People were murdered. The language you are using and the way you are using it is risky".

A spokesman for Mr O'Rourke said the Texas state legislator had been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "I think it's a really irresponsible thing for him to do", he added, "especially somebody who is a public servant and in a position of public trust to be sending that kind of message".

In 2018, police were called to remove Mr Cain from the state Democratic convention after he showed up with a pistol and pro-gun pamphlets, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

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