Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) suggested Friday that controversial "red flag" laws should be used against conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
In a tweet, Swalwell said Shapiro is "reason 1,578 America needs red flag laws."
"Please tell me this lunatic does not own a gun," Swalwell said.
The Democratic lawmaker was responding to comments from Shapiro's Friday podcast. A Media Matters reporter highlighted the comments, stripping them of their context, to make it appear that Shapiro was advocating violence — and it worked.
Please tell me this lunatic does not own a gun. Reason 1,578 America needs red flag laws. https://t.co/NA9IPs0CDV— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@Rep. Eric Swalwell)1570839088.0
Shapiro, however, was not advocating violence. He was responding to comments made during Thursday night's LGBT town hall on CNN.
Here is what Shapiro said:
You want a culture war in this country? You d**n well have it, Beto O'Rourke. You want a culture war in this country? You want this country to come apart at the seams? This is how you do it. Because I promise you: If you come to tell me that you're going to indoctrinate my kids on a particular policy and that I can't pull my kid out of the school and send my kid to a school that I want to send them to. That I can't go to the church or synagogue that I want to go to.
And if you make that national policy, not just California policy where I can move, but national policy? People are not going to stand for that. They are not going to stand for that. And if you send a truant officer to remove my child, I have two choices at that point, right? If I have no place to move because you have now made this national, federal policy.
I now have two choices: One, is to leave the country utterly. Two is to pick up a gun. Those are the only two choices that you have left me.
"It's not extreme to defend the fundamental rights the Constitution was created in order to protect," Shapiro went on to say. "These rights pre-exist government."
Red flag laws, which many states have passed in recent years, are used by law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from people who are believed to be a threat to themselves or others. Critics of the laws say they do not allow for appropriate due process.