Beto's Coming For Your Guns

Democratic debates 2019: Texas state representative Briscoe Cain tweets at Beto O'Rourke that his AR-15

Democratic debates 2019: Texas state representative Briscoe Cain tweets at Beto O'Rourke that his AR-15 "is ready for you"

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

He added: "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 and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers".

Cain replied: "You're a child Robert Francis". Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15-and neither should anyone else.

Such weapons have become a topic of debate nationally after recent mass shootings - but particularly in Texas, where 22 people were fatally shot at a Walmart store in O'Rourke's home city of El Paso on August 3 and eight people were fatally shot by a suspect's shooting spree in the Midland-Odessa area on August 31. Cain responded, "You're a child Robert Francis" at O'Rourke.

"Are you proposing taking away their guns and how would this work?" asked ABC moderator and "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, referring to O'Rourke's proposal for cracking down on mass shootings.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey needled O'Rourke later, saying he was sorry it had taken the El Paso shooting for O'Rourke to embrace the position Booker already held, backing a mandatory buyback and national registration.

Speaking to reporters after the debate, O'Rourke said that Cain's comment "sure reads" like a death threat. On Wednesday, for instance, he suggested on Twitter that the Texas legislature should "abolish" the famously liberal city of Austin.

Cain, 34, is a Republican from Baytown who represents Texas' 128th District, covering part of Harris County. Typically, the publication explained, freshmen lawmakers are exempted from the list, but they cited Cain's "uninformed and belligerent performance". The campaign declined to offer any additional comment, including any response to Twitter's decision to take down Cain's original tweet.

Until recently, there had not been much daylight between Democratic presidential candidates on gun control.

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