It was only last month that 22 people were murdered by a racist gunman targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, once again bringing gun violence to the forefront of American political issues.
El Paso is the hometown of former congressman and current Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who suspended campaigning after the shooting to console his constituents and help the town recover before getting back on the campaign trail.
O’Rourke’s passion and concern in the woeful aftermath received national praise, which was reiterated by the other contenders at Thursday night’s third Democratic debate.
When the subject of the debate turned to gun control, O’Rourke backed a mandatory buyback and total ban of assault weapons in no uncertain terms, saying, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”
In passionate answer on gun violence, Beto O'Rourke says, "When we see that being used against children…Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."https://t.co/INdRXlIwFs #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/XqcbTWvR0m
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
O’Rourke’s impassioned answer drew heavy applause from the live audience, but not everyone watching at home was cheering with them.
Texas state Representative Briscoe Cain even responded with a death threat, and O’Rourke used it to make a good point on assault weapons.
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
Cain only doubled down.
The original death threat was deleted by Twitter, citing its rules against death threats.
Cain became the subject of immense backlash, including from Parkland shooting survivor and March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg.
If you threaten to kill a presidential candidate you should not have a gun pic.twitter.com/YqkzXaer2U
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) September 13, 2019
That is a threat. I thought RESPONSIBLE gun owners did not make threats.
— wylie_Tim (@MrTSmith68) September 13, 2019
How is it that millions of nonviolent drug users are serving prison time, yet a criminal psycopath like you isn’t in jail yet? Sounds about white.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) September 13, 2019
kid, of all names to throw around here… pic.twitter.com/X8sZcfu313
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 13, 2019
Nothing says "responsible gun owner" like publicly threatening to murder a presidential candidate.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) September 13, 2019
Not the smartest move, Briscoe.
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