Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday lashed out at Republican colleague Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Texas) after he complained that universal background checks would prevent him from lending his handgun to his friends.
“You are a member of Congress. Why are you ‘lending’ guns to people unsupervised who can’t pass a basic background check?” the progressive firebrand wrote on Twitter.
“The people you’re giving a gun to have likely abused their spouse or have a violent criminal record, & you may not know it. Why on earth would you do that?”
You are a member of Congress. 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, & you may not know it.
Why on earth would you do that? https://t.co/TQFjcLQebO
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 4, 2019
The Texas Republican fired back, telling Ocasio-Cortez that Americans “outside NYC” lend guns to their friends for “self-defense and hunting purposes.”
“Just so I’m clear: you think my friends are domestic abusers/criminals? Seriously that’s your argument? That they can’t pass a background check?” Crenshaw asked.
Just so I’m clear: you think my friends are domestic abusers/criminals? 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. https://t.co/wkWPhfi0JB
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) September 4, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez noted that if a universal background check would “be a problem” to Crenshaw temporarily giving a weapon to his friend, “then you shouldn’t ‘lend’ a gun.”
“And btw, NY is one of the safest states in the country when it comes to guns, incl rural areas,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Try to keep up.”
You said w/ universal background checks, you wouldn’t be able to “lend” guns to friends.
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, incl rural areas.
Try to keep up. https://t.co/4RV4DNg7FM
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 4, 2019
The New York Democrat went on to add that instances of domestic abuse are often hidden from close friends and family.
“You could know an abuser & have no clue,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote to Crenshaw. “I’ve had friends come out to me as victims. It’s not obvious. Unsafe relationships are COMMON.”
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to Crenshaw’s complaint in response to a story that a young woman used a handgun to defend herself against five alleged robbers.
Crenshaw said that the young woman’s situation was a reason he supports the 2nd Amendment and went on to say that universal background checks would make it difficult for him to lend is handgun to friends “when they travel alone.”
“Situations like this story are why we protect the 2nd Amendment,” Crenshaw wrote. “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.”
Situations like this story are why we protect the 2nd Amendment.
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. https://t.co/x60mdd1WW1
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) September 3, 2019
State laws on the lending of guns vary, but federal law allows it if the recipient is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.
U.S. Code does, however, include conditions to block anyone from selling or transferring any firearm or ammunition “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe” the recipient is convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or is subject to a restraining order for harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child.
It also states that it is unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of weapons or firearms if the recipient is an unlawful user of any controlled substance, has been committed to any mental institution, is in the country illegally or has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which passed in the House back in February, would prohibit most person-to-person firearms transfers without a background check. The language in the bill is an attempt to close a potential loophole on private sales, like those at gun shows, on the internet or through classified ads.
It would ban the transfer of firearms between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer has first conducted a background check.
The legislation states that it would not apply to certain firearm transfers, such as a gift between spouses.
The Republican-controlled Senate has yet to vote on the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday stressed that President Trump‘s support is the key to a gun reform bill getting a vote in the upper chamber, saying the administration “is in the process of studying what they’re prepared to support, if anything.”
“I expect to get an answer to that next week,” McConnell said. “If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly and I know that if we pass it, it will become law, I’ll put it on the floor.”
Trump has at times appeared open to expanding background checks. But he’s also thrown out ideas on mental health and “red flag” laws, which are intended to make it easier for law enforcement to temporarily block someone from owning a gun.