Beto O'Rourke reports Texas legislator over rifle 'threat'

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The rest of Cain's Twitter account, including his response calling O'Rourke a child for labeling the tweet a "death threat", remained online Thursday night.

"Representative Briscoe Cain is making the case that no one should have an AR-15 that they can hold over someone else in this country and say, 'Look, if we disagree on something, have a look at my AR-15.' Absolutely wrong", O'Rourke said.

"To be clear, they should have them", O'Rourke responded.

The Texas state lawmaker's original tweet was removed by Twitter for violating the company's rules, which state that a user "may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people". He recalled talking to a woman in Odessa, Texas, who had watched her 15-year-old daughter bleed to death after she was shot by a man wielding an AR-15 late last month.

The shooter killed 22 people, many of them Latino, at a Walmart store on August 3 and is believed to have written a manifesto expressing racist and anti-immigrant sentiments.

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The Republican talking point machine immediately began the messaging that all Democrats want to take all guns. But his forceful "hell, yes" on Thursday became one of the most memorable lines of the presidential debate. By the end of the night, it had turned into a slogan, appearing in red, white and blue letters on T-shirts sold on O'Rourke's campaign website. He's long supported buybacks of such weapons.

Since O'Rourke's run for Senate, there have been several mass shootings in the USA, including in El Paso, which he has said has changed his view on gun control. On Wednesday, for instance, he suggested on Twitter that the Texas legislature should "abolish" the famously liberal city of Austin. Typically, the publication explained, freshmen lawmakers are exempted from the list, but they cited Cain's "uninformed and belligerent performance".

David Hogg, a former Parkland student and co-founder of March for Our Lives, argued that Cain's tweet proved the necessity of mandatory buybacks.

He added later in the same interview: "If you own a gun, keep that gun".

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