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Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke says he has forwarded a so-called “death threat” to the FBI, after Republican Congressman Briscoe Cain suggestively told the candidate his rifle was “ready” for him to confiscate.
Cain’s tweet was the reaction to O’Rourke’s declaration that “we’re going to take your AR-15 and AK-47” during the presidential debate among Democrat contenders on Thursday in Houston.
On Friday morning, O’Rourke responded by informing the congressman that he interpreted his comment – effectively a play on “Molon Labe,” or “come and take them” – as a threat to his life.
“Anytime you have somebody threatening [the] use of violence against somebody in this country to resolve a political issue…, that’s a matter for law enforcement,” O’Rourke told CNN’s New Day, explaining his decision to contact the FBI.
“Representative Briscoe Cain is making the case that no one should have an AR-15,” O’Rourke added. “That they can hold over someone else in this country, say, look, if we disagree on something, let me introduce you to my AR-15. Absolutely wrong.”
Some of Cain’s conservative allies came to the congressman’s defense – even after Twitter deleted his initial post – including fellow Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), who observed that O’Rourke’s confiscation plan might itself be seen as a threat of state violence.
“Any politician who advocates for confiscating lawfully acquired firearms from peaceful individuals is unequivocally advocating for violence against those individuals,” argued Massie.
“Funny how when we respond to them with ‘come and take it’ that is deemed a threat, and we are the dangerous people not worthy of the gun, but they are not deemed the same for initiating the violence,” one commenter said on Twitter, expanding on Massie’s thought.
As a growing number of politicians propose gun bans – whether through piecemeal regulations, buy-back programs or outright confiscation – the rhetoric of the gun-grabbers has peaked in intensity, frequently equating support for the Second Amendment as a sign of “extremism” or even “domestic terrorism.”