HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign reported to the FBI that the candidate received a death threat by a Republican Texas state representative.
It came after O’Rourke said he would ban guns like the AR-15 and AK-47 and require owners to sell them back to the government during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” the former Texas representative exclaimed during the debate when asked about his plans if elected president.
O’Rourke’s remarks at last night’s debate received a lot of attention, not just from Democrats.
Representative Briscoe Cain, a leading advocate for 2nd Amendment rights from the Houston area, sent the following tweet to O’Rourke: “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
O’Rourke’s campaign fired back, “This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 and neither should anyone.”
Cain shot back, “You’re a child Robert Francis.”
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
O’Rourke was asked about Cain’s tweet after the debate.
“At the end of the day, I believe Briscoe Cain is going to follow the law,” said O’Rourke.
Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said Cain doesn’t shy away from controversy.
“Mixing it up with Beto isn’t very surprising,” said Jones. “He’s trying to milk it for publicity and to gain support within the Democratic party. I don’t think anyone believes Briscoe Cain was making a death threat to Beto O’Rourke.”
CBS 11 News reached out to Representative Cain and the national office of the FBI seeking comment, but haven’t heard back.
During the debate, O’Rourke talked about what he would do about gun violence and referenced the recent mass shootings in his hometown and Midland-Odessa.
Twenty-two people were killed in El Paso on Aug. 3 in a deadly rampage that the suspected shooter claimed was fueled by racism. The shooter was indicted on Thursday for capital murder and will face the death penalty.
“A racism and violence that have long been a part of America was welcomed out into the open and directed toward my hometown of El Paso, Texas where 22 people were killed, dozens more grievously injured by a man carrying a weapon he should never have been able to buy in the first place, inspired to kill by our president,” O’Rourke said during his opening statement at the debate.
The suspect in the Midland-Odessa shooting that left seven dead was killed by police. Authorities said the suspect bought the assault-style weapon used in the shooting from a private seller.