In response to Republican Dan Crenshaw's (TX) warning that background check legislation may have unintended consequences, including disallowing lending guns to friends for self-protection, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) accused her fellow freshman member of Congress of lending guns to people who have "likely abused their spouse or have a violent criminal record." The accusation sparked a strong response from Crenshaw, which prompted the pro-gun control Democrat to double down on her comment.
"Situations like this story are why we protect the 2nd Amendment," Crenshaw tweeted Tuesday, referencing an ABC story about a woman who used a handgun to protect herself from five male robbers.
"Five men tried to rob a young woman this morning," ABC13's Miya Shay reported in a tweet reposted by Crenshaw. "They didn’t expect her to grab her handgun and fire. Today, she is unharmed, and at least one suspect is shot."
Crenshaw added a "side note" to his response to the ABC report: "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."
That comment inspired a loaded response from Ocasio-Cortez, a promoter of the progressive gun control agenda.
"You are a member of Congress. Why are you 'lending' guns to people unsupervised who can't pass a basic background check?" she tweeted Wednesday. Ocasio-Cortez then took the assumptions further: "The people you’re giving a gun to have likely abused their spouse or have a violent criminal record, & you may not know it," she added. "Why on earth would you do that?"
Crenshaw blasted back by calling out the congresswoman for the unwarranted assumptions and her lack of understanding of law-abiding citizens' uses of guns.
"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?" he wrote. "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."
That rebuke triggered more tweets from Ocasio-Cortez, who doubled down on her "abusers" and "criminals" argument.
"Rapists can have Ivy League degrees. Abusers can look like 'good dads' or have high incomes or 'great jobs,'" she wrote in a pair of tweets Wednesday. "Good appearances are often a cover for abusers. In fact, many abusers RELY on their public reputation to intimidate partners from leaving (ex: 'no one will believe you.')"
"Domestic abusers can be master manipulators. Plus, domestic abuse is a HUGE indicator for gun violence," she added. "That's why 'vouching for friend' isn't a substitute for a background check. You wouldn't lend a car to someone w/o a license. Why lend a gun to someone w/o a background check?"
In its report on the public feud, CBS News notes that federal law allows citizens to lend their guns to a person unless they are prohibited from owning a gun, while state laws on the lending guns vary. "In February, the House passed a bill called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which banned most individual transfers of firearms unless both parties are licensed," CBS reports. "The bill has not passed the Senate."
Along with the background checks legislation, Congress is considering so-called "red flag" laws that would allow authorities to prohibit people who are considered potential threats from possessing guns. In August, Crenshaw urged conservatives to get involved in the conversation about gun control legislation.