Twitter took down a tweet from a Republican state lawmaker Thursday night after Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke characterized it as a “death threat.”
During an anti-2nd Amendment rant during the Democrat debate Houston, O’Rourke had exclaimed: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s!”
Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain responded to the Democrat’s threat by saying that his “AR is ready” for him. Twitter removed the tweet, saying that it violated their “rules for threats of violence.”
— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) September 13, 2019
Cain was responding to a tweet O’Rourke had posted following the debate that included the video of his threat to take the weapons away from millions of Americans. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47! We’re not going to allow it to be used by our fellow Americans anymore!” he ranted.
Hell yeah, we're going to take your AR-15. If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield, we're going to buy it back. pic.twitter.com/cCEWkG6y0X
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
O’Rourke called Cain’s response to his threat a “death threat,” adding that neither Cain nor anyone else should be allowed to own an AR-15.
“Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else,” he added.
Cain tweeted in response to O’Rourke, calling the Democratic presidential hopeful “a child.”
You’re a child Robert Francis https://t.co/rU3WoYQFQV
— ???????????????????????????? ???????????????? (@BriscoeCain) September 13, 2019
Later on CNN, O’Rourke praised Twitter for taking down the tweet from someone “with a weapon of war threatening to use it against somebody who is talking about gun violence in this country,” the Hill reported.
A spokesperson for O’Rourke added that his campaign actually reported the post to the FBI.
“Anytime you have somebody threatening to use violence against somebody in this country to resolve a political issue — or really for any reason — that’s a matter for law enforcement,” O’Rourke said.
Many gun owners took O’Rourke’s threat to confiscate their guns as a threat of violence in and of itself, as it would require people with guns to forcibly enter their homes to fulfill the threat.
While anti-gunners often refer to the AR-15 as an “assault rifle,” it actually stands for “ArmaLite rifle” and is a semiautomatic weapon, which means it fires one round with each pull of the trigger.
The AR-15 remains an immensely popular firearm with millions of Americans who use it for home defense, marksmanship competitions, individual practice, and hunting.
According to FBI statistics on gun violence in 2016, 65 percent of unjustified homicides by firearm were committed with handguns, 3.4 percent with rifles, 2.4 percent with shotguns, and 1.6 percent with other guns.
The police data didn’t list the type of firearm used in the remaining 28 percent of the gun-related homicides, but most of those are believed to be handguns, as well.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated that approximately five to ten million AR-15 style rifles exist in the U.S. Clearly, O’Rourke’s threat to forcibly confiscate the weapons from millions of responsible gun owners is dangerous and foolhardy.
Until recently, most Democrats denied that confiscation was the end-goal of their anti-2nd Amendment efforts. The DC Examiner’s Julio Rosas created a nifty little video showing how that narrative has evolved: