On Tuesday, during a previously scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee gun violence hearing, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pushed back on Democrats who he believes are using the recent mass shootings in Colorado and Atlanta to "[take] away guns from law-abiding citizens," calling it "ridiculous theater."
“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Cruz argued to the committee, as he led the Republican response to proposed Democratic gun control legislation.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during gun violence hearing:— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2021
“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater … Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens … it makes it worse.”pic.twitter.com/yXUHsj6qG0
In recent weeks the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a pair of bills aimed to increase background checks, a policy Republicans believe will only affect law abiding Americans rather and do nothing to deter potential criminals. H.R. 8 (The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021) and H.R. 1446 (The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021) were both passed in the House with minimal support from GOP representatives, and face an uphill battle in the split Senate.
Prior to Cruz’s remarks on Tuesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) claimed “thoughts and prayers are all we have heard from my colleagues on the other side,” a sentiment that Democrats have repeatedly used following mass shootings to accuse Republicans of not pursuing policy to prevent gun violence.
Cruz took exception to Blumenthal’s statement, calling it a known falsehood.
“The senator from Connecticut knows that is false, and he knows that’s false, because Sen. [Chuck] Grassley [R-Iowa] and I together introduced legislation [...] targeted at violent criminals, targeted at felons, targeted at fugitives, targeted at those with serious mental disease to stop them from getting firearms and put them in prison when they try to illegally buy guns,” said Cruz.
According to Senator Grassley’s website, Cruz and Grassley’s proposed legislation, introduced in both 2013 and 2018, would:
Improve and reauthorize grants for [the National Instant Criminal Background Check System] NICS database;
Increase federal prosecution of gun violence by establishing the Nationwide Project Exile Program and establishing a high-level federal taskforce;
Responsibly addresses gun violence by criminalizing straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking;
Protect the Second Amendment rights of members of the armed forces;
Require the Department of Justice to explain to Congress why it has or has not been prosecuting gun cases;
Place limitations on operations like Fast and Furious by DOJ;
Allow firearms dealers to utilize the NICS database to for voluntary background checks of employees; and
Allow firearms dealers to access the FBI’s National Crime Information Center stolen-gun database to ensure that a firearm is not stolen prior to acquisition
“What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens, because that’s their political objective,” Cruz added on Tuesday. “But what they propose, not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse."
President Biden on Tuesday called for a ban on "assault weapons" to help curb mass shootings. While the term "assault weapon" is highly subjective and open to widespread interpretation, it typically includes certain sporting rifles like the AR-15, along with features like pistol grips.