Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is taking on Texas Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke over his stance against selling AR-15s, saying the weapon can be used for “self-defense.”

Cornyn posted a video over the weekend of O’Rourke saying in February that he does not “think we should be selling AR-15s in this country.” 

“For self-defense?” Cornyn replied on Twitter.

A spokesman for O’Rourke pointed The Hill to the congressman’s full comments from his CBS interview in February.

{mosads}”That weapon was designed for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill people as effectively and as efficiently as possible on the battlefield,” O’Rourke said of AR-15s in the interview.

“It has no place in our streets, in our schools, in our concerts, in our movie theaters. We should not be selling that to civilians.”

O’Rourke made the comments shortly after a gunman opened fire with an AR-15 at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in mid-February, killing 17 students and faculty.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo weighed into the debate on Twitter on Saturday, saying AR-15s are used to “slaughter innocent Americans as opposed to self-defense.” 

“In 32 years policing, I’ve yet encounter a case of a community member using an AR-15 for self-defense,” Acevedo replied to Cornyn. “I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I’d bet the house they’ve been used many, many times to slaughter innocent Americans as opposed to self-defense.” 

O’Rourke is locked in a competitive race against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has sought to frame O’Rourke as being too liberal for Texas.

Cruz in recent weeks has also slammed O’Rourke over his backing of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem and criticism of police officers.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found Cruz with a 9-point lead over O’Rourke. Other polls have found Cruz with a 4-point edge in the deep-red state.

Tags Beto O'Rourke John Cornyn Ted Cruz
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