Beto O'Rourke - whose hometown of El Paso, Texas is still recovering from a horrific mass shooting last month that left 22 people dead - highlighted his support for a mandatory buyback of assault-style weapons by saying on Thursday night: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47".
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. "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47", the presidential hopeful declared.
O'Rourke's birth name is Robert Francis O'Rourke, and he has been mocked by Republican lawmakers for using his nickname, Beto.
"This is a death threat, Representative", O'Rourke said in reply.
Following O'Rourke's claim of a death threat, Cain responded by calling the candidate a "child". "I was just in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, if you're talking about taking people's guns from them, there's going to be a lot of violence". An O'Rourke spokesperson told The Verge that the campaign reported the tweet as a threat to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On Thursday night, Democratic state Rep.
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Asked by ABC News host David Muir at the debate Thursday if he is serious about his calls to confiscate Americans' "weapons of war" - specifically AR-15s and AK-47s - O'Rourke said, "Hell yes".
Cain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He said that, if enacted, he expected people would decide to comply with his new policy, because the government doesn't typically "go door to door searching people's homes to see if they're in fact breaking the law".
"Someone on the campaign. contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, contacted Twitter". What's more. his team reported Briscoe to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In response to the recent wave of gun violence stoked by white nationalism, O'Rourke has proposed an expansive plan to establish a national gun registry, a national gun licensing system, and a mandatory buyback program of assault-style rifles.
Cain is a member of the Texas House of Representatives for House District 128, which covers an area east of Houston, where the debate was held.
On Friday, O'Rourke continued to push for gun control by criticizing Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott's mass shooting response, a proposal that calls for voluntary private sale background checks.