The American epidemic of gun violence was a prominent topic during last night’s Democratic debate, and the nation was surprised to see several candidates take refreshingly hard stances against civilian ownership of assault rifles like AR-15s and AK-47s. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke took the unprecedented step of calling for a mandatory gun buyback program, which elicited the usual posturing and bravado from gun-nut right-wingers who immediately began threatening to use the rifles against anyone who tried to take their guns away.
A Texas lawmaker, Rep. Briscoe Cain, immediately found himself in hot water for telling O’Rourke that his “AR-15 was ready for him,” which almost everyone, including Twitter’s staff, interpreted as a death threat against a presidential candidate. Twitter removed the tweet for violating its rules governing violent threats, but screenshots remain:
This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else. pic.twitter.com/jsiZmwjMDs
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
O’Rourke’s team added that “clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else.”
It will come as no surprise to learn that this is not the first time that Briscoe Cain has found himself in trouble for gun-related shenanigans or inciting violence against Democrats.
It's worth noting that Briscoe Cain sneaked into last year's Texas Democratic convention with a handgun and tried to hand out yard signs inviting shooters to attack Democrats' houses.
This man is not well and should not be a state representative, OR own guns. https://t.co/zcJc0EEMuT
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) September 13, 2019
Social media immediately erupted into mockery of Briscoe Cain, who likes to talk tough on Twitter but looks…shall we say, quite less intimidating in person.
News out of Texas this morning: After hearing about his tweet threatening a candidate, @BriscoeCain's parents have grounded him for the rest of the month, spanked him and took away his computer & Xbox privileges. Pretty bad stuff.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 13, 2019
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) September 13, 2019
There is no rational reason for any civilian to own an assault rifle beyond “it goes bang real loud and I wanna have it.” The Founding Fathers certainly could not have predicted the development of assault rifles, and would likely be absolutely appalled at how the Second Amendment is enabling the endless slaughter of innocent Americans going about their day-to-day lives. The right-wing fetishization of their weapons and the zealotry of a tiny proportion of gun owners must not be allowed to keep up from the obvious solution to America’s gun massacre epidemic. We thank for Beto for having the courage to finally open the door to a mandatory gun buyback program, knowing that it means he likely never gets elected in Texas again.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.