Ted Cruz on the Second Amendment
Junior Republican US Senator Ted Cruz from Texas made quite the scene a few days ago when he decided to enlighten Senior Democratic US Senator Dianne Feinstein on his grasp of constitution law during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill to ban assault weapons. If you happened to miss this explosive exchange, click here to see and listen to the 6-minute cross-examination, of sorts.
At the hearing, 42-year old Princeton and Harvard educated Cruz felt compelled to display his knowledge of the Constitution, thinking the audience would be impressed with his eloquence and be swayed by an argument that relies on five words: “the right of the people.” Cruz says we need to start with the foundational document, The Constitution (no kidding) and goes on to make three key points:
- The 2nd amendment states the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;
- The 1st and 4th Amendments also refer to the right of the people but in regard to free speech (1st) and search and seizure (4th).
- Given that all three amendments specify the right of the people, should Congress consider what books apply to the 1st Amendment and what persons are subject to search and seizure in the 4th amendment, in the same way we are asking Congress to consider what weapons should be allowed under the 2nd Amendment?”
Dianne Feinstein, as seen on the tape, was a bit taken aback and I only wish she had more time to prepare her answer but she does make some good points, namely that there are 2,271 weapons on the approved list and how many more weapons does the public need? Noting that his question wasn’t answered by the “senior senator from California” (as if he doesn’t know her name), Feinstein eventually answered the question honestly by saying Congress should not engage in specifying books or who is included or exempted from search and seizure protection. But, we’re not talking about analogies (rarely are they as pure as Senator Cruz would lead us to believe); we’re considering assault weapons and whether a ban infringes on the rights of people to keep and bear arms.
Any bright law school graduate with the gift of gab can present and win an argument but it doesn’t mean he or she is right. I’m guessing Cruz did well on his feet in moot court during his law school years and although I understand his argument (which relies on analogies), I don’t agree with it. I’m not a match for Cruz in the public debate law forum; nor is Dianne Feinstein but the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t meet to determine the best debater; they met to consider a ban on assault weapons.
Legal arguments aside, Cruz was patronizing and condescending in both how he phrased his words and in how he chose to address Senator Feinstein, referring to her over and over again as the “senior senator from California” and mentioning “her sincerity and her passion” as if her support of the ban on assault weapons was emotional and without merit. Dianne Feinstein, in frustration at being lectured to, told Cruz she is not a sixth grader; she should have asked him if he ever attended a Dale Carnegie course. I’d be willing to bet he hasn’t.
Most people in this country know the second amendment states “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The NRA and most Republicans do not support a ban on assault weapons because they believe “the right of the people to bear arms” will be infringed. Yes, it will be (but we have 2,271 other weapons to choose from), as it should be because we live in a country where we can’t go to a movie theater, a mall, work, college, a hospital, the post office, or send our kids to school without wondering if a mass shooting is going to take place. And, to those who think these incidences are rare or rarely happen outside of neighborhoods already infested with crime, think again.
There is a mass shooting in the US on average every 10 days where three or more people are shot and/or killed. For anyone that doubts the US has more deaths from firearms than countries that have stricter gun control laws, just look at the statistics and read the truths. We’re number 11 out 75 countries without a chance in hell of moving down the list until we start valuing human life more than the personal right to keep and bear arms.
So what is it going to take to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines? People getting involved or an act of God because this country has seen a Congresswoman shot in the head at a mall and 21 first graders (and 6 teachers) gunned down with 151 bullets in less than 5 minutes (by a mentally unstable young man who obtained the weapon from his mother, who was able to legally purchase the Bushmaster A-15 after the ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 after Congress failed to extend it) and the NRA and Republicans still will not support a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, or support universal background checks, a universal registry, or firearm reform.
Go to the website of your Congressman or Congresswoman and Senator, click on the “Contact” link and send an e-mail. Join groups like MomsRising who support the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Make your voice heard because if you don’t, we will never win the battle against those who think “the right of the people” to bear arms supersedes all else. The answer isn’t to arm and it’s not to disarm; the answer is to do both.