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Twitter deletes 'death threat' from Texas lawmaker who targeted Beto O'Rourke

Twitter deletes 'death threat' from Texas lawmaker who targeted Beto O'Rourke

A Republican lawmaker in Texas is in the spotlight after tweeting a threatening message to Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke following Thursday night's Democratic debate.

"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", he said.

"My AR is ready for you Robert Francis", Cain tweeted, calling O'Rourke by his full first and middle names.

Twitter also took quick action, removing the lawmaker's tweet roughly two hours after it appeared. But many read it as clear threat of violence, and a spokeswoman for O'Rourke's campaign told The Washington Post that staffers had reported the tweet to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And O'Rourke responded to Cain by saying: "This is a death threat, Representative".

Cain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "You're an idiot", he told one commenter.

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His tweet came during a politically charged moment in Texas over gun control following the El Paso shooting and a Labor Day weekend rampage in West Texas that left seven people dead. He had previously supported banning the sale of new AR-15 rifles but stopped short of advocating for taking existing guns out of circulation, telling talk radio station KFYO in 2018, "If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it, continue to use it responsibly". Many cited President Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric on immigrants and people of color for inspiring the act.

O'Rourke is seeking to breathe life into his campaign amid consistently weak polling performances, and apparently used the occasion of the third Democratic presidential primary debate to go for broke.

An O'Rourke spokesperson told The Verge that the campaign reported the tweet as a threat to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

O'Rourke has made addressing gun violence and mass shootings a central theme of his presidential campaign over the last few weeks after a series of mass shootings, including one in his hometown of El Paso, rocked the U.S.in August. "They're not normally people who are out there shooting deer with them".

"Most reasonable gun owners who may even be collectors with those kinds of weapons can have a conversation about the fact that they don't want any Tom, Dick, and Harry stockpiling them in their apartment and then carting them off to Walmart because they're angry at an employee or they just don't like brown people", she added.


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