Beto O'Rourke taking away AR-15s and AK-47s - What's Your Point?

This week’s panel; Wayne Dolcefino, media consultant;  Bob Price, Associate Editor of Breitbart Texas; Carmen Roe, Houston attorney; Antonio Diaz-, writer, educator and radio host; Jacquie Baly, UH Downtown Political Science Professor; Chris Tritico, FOX 26 legal and political analyst; talking about the third democratic debate and Beto O'Rourke's applause gathering statement about the shooting in El Paso and call for some gun control.

A moment during the Houston Democratic Debate has turned to a war of words on Twitter after Beto O'Rourke says a Texas state lawmaker 'threatened' him, after his pledge to confiscate certain weapons.

O'Rourke's 'Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15' pledge was in response to several mass-shootings in Texas over the last few years.

But when the O'Rourke campaign followed with a tweet repeating the comment, Deer Park Republican Briscoe Cain responded with his own comment:

"My AR is ready for you Robert Francis", using O'Rourke's given name.

O'Rourke followed-up:

"This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15, and neither should anyone else."

Cain insists he didn't threaten anyone, "Beto absolutely knows that's not true, at all."

Instead, he says he was drawing from the state's unofficial motto, from the Texas Revolution, "Come and Take It".

"The real concern should be with candidates for President discussing the violation of constitutional rights," says Cain, "Had he said 'I'm going to silence you, and take away your free speech', we'd all be upset. He's doing the same thing there."    

FOX 26 Senior legal analyst Chris Tritico thinks the standoff appears more political theater, than anything else.

While the O'Rourke campaign says it filed a complaint about Cain's comments, with the FBI, Cain says he hasn't heard from the feds and the agency doesn't confirm or deny any inquiries.

In a statement, the FBI says such allegations are reviewed and appropriate action is taken, when appropriate.

"I am going to kill you' is a direct threat and you have to be in a position to do it," says Tritico, "When you say it over the Twittersphere, and you're not around each other and you don't have the ability to carry it out, it's really not a death threat."

Either way, the episode to generating a lot of attention that may not be all bad for either side.

The O'Rourke campaign is now selling t-shirts emblazoned with his pledge to confiscate weapons.

The Texas Republican Party has introduced its own t-shirts, that read: "Beto, Come and Take It".

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke says a mandatory government buyback program for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles is needed because other gun control measures don't do enough to remove weapons already on the streets.

O'Rourke spoke Thursday at Tufts University in his first campaign stop in Massachusetts. He said that while universal background checks and red flag laws that allow guns to be removed from those deemed a danger to themselves or others will save lives, neither will address the millions of assault-style weapons already in private hands.

He said the country needs to buy back those weapons.

"There are more than 10 million AR-15 and AK-47s on the streets of our communities today and so we must take the necessary though politically difficult step of saying that we have to buy those AR-15 and AK-47s," O'Rourke said. "This is a mandate that every single American who owns one of them will have to fulfill."

Last month, a gunman killed nearly two dozen people in O'Rourke's El Paso, Texas, hometown using an AK-style rifle.

Other Democratic candidates for the White House have also vowed to crack down on the weapons.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and California Sen. Kamala Harris are among those who have said they support banning assault weapons.

O'Rourke touched on a number of other topics including climate change, cybersecurity, Russian interference in U.S. elections and immigration.

He also defended his decision not to back a "Medicaid for All" approach to health care - a position favored by some of the Democratic candidates, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Warren.

O'Rourke said he wants to expand health care to cover all Americans but doesn't want to ban private, employer-sponsored health plans - including those negotiated by unions.

He also said he would look at breaking up big tech firms if needed and would require that social media companies change their user agreements to help protect online privacy.