Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke was on the receiving end of a death threat Thursday night after the former Texas congressman said he would confiscate assault rifles if elected during the primary debate in Houston, a position he reaffirmed Friday.
The threat came from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who, in a now-deleted tweet, said that his AR-15 was "ready" for O'Rourke.
"This is a death threat, Representative," O'Rourke said in reply. "Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else."
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 offending—to Cain and other Republicans—comments from O'Rourke came during a debate discussion on gun violence that centered on two deadly mass shootings in Texas during the month of August, in O'Rourke's native El Paso on August 3 and in Midlands and Odessa on August 31.
"Hell yeah, we're going to take your AR-15 and your AK-47," O'Rourke said. "We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore. If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield, we're going to buy it back."
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The tweet toward O'Rourke wasn't the first threat of violence from Cain on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Cain tweeted he wished he could cut safety lines holding debate protesters off a bridge in Houston ahead of the debate.
O'Rouke's campaign told CNN early on Friday that they would report the threat to the F.B.I.
On MSNBC Friday, O'Rourke continued pushing for an assault rifle ban and buyback program, telling "Morning Joe" reporter Willie Geist that the proposal would not be a "vountary" program where gun-owners have the option of whether or not to turn over their weapons.
"I want to make sure that we make the distinction here," said O'Rourke. "It is mandatory. It will be the law. You will required to comply."