- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2019

Republican Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain on Friday defended recently saying that his semiautomatic rifle was “ready” for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Mr. Cain denied he threatened Mr. O’Rourke with his remark on Twitter late Thursday, arguing to the contrary that the White House hopeful had threatened him by promising to confiscate legally owned firearms from Americans if elected president.

“He’s threatened to trespass on my property and the property of others or to kick down our door and take from us,” Mr. Cain said on Fox News. “What I wrote really is just another way of saying ‘Come and take it.’”

Mr. Cain’s “Come and take it” remark about his fellow Texan was a nod to a seminal moment in state history, the Battle of Gonzales, the first armed engagement of the Texas Revolution in October 1835 where a defiant band of Texians defeated Mexican troops who had been sent to confiscate their cannon.

“Really he is the one making the threat, right?” asked Mr. Cain.

Mr. O’Rourke, a former U.S. congressman from El Paso, faced criticism from gun rights advocates after making it clear during Thursday’s third Democratic presidential primary debate that his administration would outlaw and confiscate certain military-style weapons used in several recent mass shootings.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” Mr. O’Rourke said during the debate. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”

“My AR is ready for you,” Mr. Cain said on Twitter to Mr. O’Rourke moments later.

Mr. O’Rourke later said he considered Mr. Cain’s tweet to be a death threat and alerted the FBI. Twitter said it violated its rules against threatening violence and was accordingly deleted from the platform.

Asked on Fox News whether he had threatened Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. Cain said “absolutely not.”

“It’s come and take it,” said Mr. Cain. “Their threat was against Americans.”

“No crime has been committed,” Mr. Cain separately told ABC13, adding that the FBI “won’t be calling.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

“To protect the privacy of people who contact the FBI, we cannot confirm or deny any particular contact or the potential existence of an investigation,” the FBI said in a statement . “As a general matter, though, allegations of criminal conduct are reviewed by the FBI for their merit, with consideration of any applicable federal laws. When warranted, the FBI takes appropriate action.”

Virtually all Democratic presidential candidates have proposed enacting gun control measures if elected. Mr. O’Rourke passionately discussed the issue during Thursday’s debate, urging for reform following a mass shooting claiming 22 lives last month in his home city of El Paso.

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