AOC, Texas Rep. Crenshaw duel over background checks: 'Why are you "lending" guns to people unsupervised?'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Wednesday called out a Republican congressman who complained that implementing stricter gun laws would prevent him from letting friends borrow his handgun.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, shared on Twitter a local news report about a woman who police say shot and wounded a suspected robber who reached for her purse.

“Situations like this story are why we protect the 2nd Amendment,” Crenshaw tweeted, adding: “Side note: With universal background checks, I wouldn’t be able to let my friends borrow my handgun when they travel alone like this. We would make felons out of people just for defending themselves.”

Texas law allows private gun owners to sell or lend a handgun to anyone who is over the age of 18 and not a felon. The state does not require background checks for private sales of firearms.

“You are a member of Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez responded in a tweet. “Why are you ‘lending’ guns to people unsupervised who can’t pass a basic background check?”

“The people you’re giving a gun to have likely abused their spouse or have a violent criminal record, [and] you may not know it,” she added. “Why on earth would you do that?”

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. (Photos: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Just so I’m clear: you think my friends are domestic abusers/criminals?” Crenshaw replied. “Seriously that’s your argument? That they can’t pass a background check? Wrong. People lend guns to friends, esp if they don’t own a gun, for self-defense and hunting purposes. This is America outside NYC.”

“You said w/ universal background checks, you wouldn’t be able to ‘lend’ guns to friends,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote back. “If a background check would be a problem, then you shouldn’t ‘lend’ a gun. And btw, NY is one of the safest states in the country when it comes to guns, [including] rural areas. Try to keep up.”

Their Twitter spat comes amid a push by Democrats and some Republicans to reform U.S. gun laws in the wake of a string of deadly mass shootings, including two in Crenshaw’s home state.

On Saturday, seven people were killed and more than 20 others wounded in a shooting rampage near Odessa, Texas. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the gunman purchased his weapon from a private seller — a transaction that does not require a background check.

“The shooter tried to buy a gun from a registered dealer, but failed the background check,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., noted in a tweet. “So he bought the gun in a private sale, no background check required. Then he shot 30 people, killing 7. Could there be a more compelling case for why we need universal background checks?”

“This is the 1st mass shooting where a universal background check *possibly* would have prevented him from having a gun, if and only if, they decided to self-enforce that law,” Crenshaw replied. “Guys who shoot cops tend not to self-enforce laws. And we don’t make sweeping policy on one situation.”

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