Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted her House colleague Dan Crenshaw on Wednesday after he tweeted that background checks would prevent him from lending his handgun to his friends. The spat between the two lawmakers comes after two mass shootings in Crenshaw's home state in August have led Democratic lawmakers to call for Congress to pass stricter gun control measures.
The Texas Republican highlighted a local news story of a woman who stopped a robbery after she pulled her gun and fired at her would-be assailants, injuring one of them. "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," he tweeted Tuesday.
The progressive lawmaker called him out, wondering "why on earth" he would lend his guns to begin with. "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," she said.
Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, responded and appeared to take offense at suggestion that his friends may have a criminal background. "People lend guns to friends, esp if they don't own a gun, for self-defense and hunting purposes. This is America outside NYC."
Ocasio-Cortez replied: "If a background check would be a problem, then you shouldn't 'lend' a gun." She went on to make a bigger point about domestic abuse typically being hidden from loved ones.
"Domestic abusers can be master manipulators," she said. "Plus, domestic abuse is a HUGE indicator for gun violence. 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?"
Laws on lending guns vary from state to state, although federal law allows someone to lend a gun to a person unless that person is prohibited from owning a gun. 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. The bill has not passed the Senate.
Meanwhile, efforts for new gun reform legislation has been slowly moving in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he'sto chart a path forward on gun violence legislation following another mass shooting in Texas.
Asked about a Senate vote on House-passed legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, McConnell said, "The administration is in the process of studying what they're prepared to support, if anything." He expects an answer next week.