Texas Senator Ted Cruz claims that there have been “too damn many” mass shootings in Texas.
But he has not gone as far as to embrace gun control proposals that Democrats have put forward. In his view, those bills would not have prevented the recent spate of mass shootings in his home state.
“We’ve seen too damn many of these in the state of Texas. So, we need to end them, absolutely, yes,” he declared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, after recounting the time he spent with mass shooting victims’ families in west Texas.
“Now, the question is what do we need to do that actually works? And this is where I get frustrated with Democratic politicians in Washington,” he continued. “Because the proposals they’re putting forward would not have stopped a single one of these mass murders.”
Law enforcement sources informed ABC News that the gunman was prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm due to the fact that he had been diagnosed with a mental illness. Instead, he acquired his firearm in a private sale according to federal and local law enforcement sources.
Under federal law, a seller is not allowed to sell a weapon to a buyer who has been flagged by law enforcement. However, sellers are not required to conduct background checks or ask if buyers can legally possess a weapon.
Universal background check legislation passed the House earlier this year and the Toomey-Manchin bill put forward in the Senate would expand background checks to private and internet sales.
On “This Week,” Cruz made the case for an alternative bill which he introduced in 2013 with Sen. Chuck Grassley. The two re-introduced this bill earlier in May.
While it doesn’t create universal background checks, the legislation works to bolster the current system by prosecuting individuals with a criminal record who lie on background check forms and criminalize straw purchases.
Some gun rights activists believe that the NICS system has not had any impact on reducing crime, nor would an expansion of this system—which some Second Amendment figures like Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America believe acts as a de facto registry—actually curb crime. There is reason to believe that strengthening NICS could open up the floodgates for further abuse by the federal government.
Bureaucracies have a life of their own, and giving them more power means that the potential for Second Amendment infringements is higher.
To his credit, Cruz does recognize that passing Democrat-style gun control could hurt Republicans in 2020.
“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” Cruz said last week.
Dudley Brown, the President of the National Association for Gun Rights, commented on this proposal:
We’re not excited about it. Cruz-Grassley doubles down on failed government gun control programs like “Project Exile”, better known to gun owners as “Project Gestapo” for how it’s been abused. Straw purchases are already illegal, yet the bill aims to entrap ordinary gun sellers for purposes of prosecuting them.
Brown added that “The bill reinforces existing unconstitutional Federal gun controls and falls short of real life-saving reforms like repealing gun free zones.
It focuses on the gun, not the person behind the crime. In this regard, it’s just a light version of the gun controls proposed by the Democrats.”
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