Twitter removes Texas lawmaker’s AR-15 tweet directed at Beto O’Rourke

Texas Politics

O'Rourke called Rep. Briscoe Cain's tweet a 'death threat'

AUSTIN, Texas (AP / KXAN) — A Texas state representative is being criticized for tweeting he had an assault weapon ready for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The tweet from Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain came after O’Rourke pledged Thursday during the Democratic debate that “hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47” when asked about a mandatory assault weapons buyback proposal he’s endorsed.

Cain tweeted: “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis,” O’Rourke’s full name.

O’Rourke called the tweet “a death threat”. Cain responded to O’Rourke’s tweet with a follow up, “You’re a child Robert Francis.”

In an interview with CNN Friday, O’Rourke said someone on his campaign contacted the FBI and Twitter.

“I think Twitter took it down because you have somebody with a weapon of war threatening to use it against somebody who’s talking about gun violence in this country,” O’Rourke said. “That’s exactly why Briscoe Cain should not have an AR-15.”

A Twitter spokesman confirmed Cain’s tweet was removed for violating the company’s terms of service.

But it escalated an already tense atmosphere in Texas over guns after a mass shooting in El Paso left 20 dead and 26 hurt and another in Odessa and Midlands left 5 dead and 21 hurt.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a Texas Safety Action report Thursday in the wake of the recent mass shootings. As part of the firearm safety section in his report, Abbott urged the legislature to “spur cooperation to encourage social media companies to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

“Law enforcement and social media should collaborate to identify and prevent violence on online platforms and web hosting companies,” the report read.

Cain didn’t immediately respond to the Associated Press for a request for comment.

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