Texas GOP lawmaker's tweet escalates tension over guns

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At Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, O'Rourke was pressed by ABC's "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir about whether he was proposing "taking away" guns from lawful gun owners.

Republican legislator Briscoe Cain's tweet was deleted by Twitter after the Democrat called it a "death threat".

"There weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time", he said, then vowed, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47".

"My AR is ready for you Robert Francis", Cain tweeted, referring to O'Rourke by his birth name. Cain's original tweet was removed by Twitter for violating the service's rules.

Meanwhile, a Texas state lawmaker sent a threatening tweet, which O'Rourke reposted with the message, "Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15-and neither should anyone else".

Cain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since Aug. 3, when a gunman armed with an AK-style rifle killed 22 people at a Walmart in O'Rourke's hometown of El Paso, the candidate has been an outspoken proponent of stricter gun-control measures, including mandatory buybacks.

'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15,' O'Rourke says at Democratic debate

"Texas Republican lawmaker to Beto O'Rourke: "My AR is ready for you" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans - and engages with them - about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

"In case you forgot, people were just killed in El Paso". At Thursday night's primary debate, he said "hell yes" he would take those guns.

A white nationalist killed 22 people and wounded about two dozen others in the August 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. "People were murdered. The language you are using and the way you are using it is risky".

Speaking to reporters after the debate, O'Rourke said that Cain's comment "sure reads" like a death threat.

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.

He has the toughest stance on gun ownership of all the candidates and is committed to forcing owners of certain types of weapons to give them up.

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