President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a national assault weapons ban in the wake of two violent mass shooting incidents over the past week, arguing for targeted legislation to crack down on felons purchasing firearms. But one Republican senator is offering legislation he says will actually stop violent criminals from getting their hands on firearms.
On Monday, a gunman murdered 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, including a police officer who responded to the scene. Just one week earlier, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long was arrested for multiple shootings at several massage parlors near Atlanta, Georgia, which left at least eight people dead.
Democrats have politicized these terrible crimes with demands for gun control.
"I don't need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future," President Biden said Tuesday. "We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again."
President Biden: "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that don… https://t.co/I8zNoXIHso— CBS News (@CBS News)1616519036.0
"This is the moment to make our stand. NOW. Today, our movement is stronger than the gun lobby. They are weak. We are potent. Finally, a President and a Congress that supports gun reform," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted Monday. "No more Newtowns. No more Parklands. No more Boulders. Now — we make our stand."
Addressing Murphy in committee Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered Democrats an opportunity to support legislation he says would actually target violent criminals' ability to get their hands on firearms without infringing on law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights.
"The senator from Connecticut just said it's time for us to do something. I agree, it is time for us to do something. And 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 said.
"The senator from Connecticut just said the folks on the other side of the aisle have no solutions. Well, the senator from Connecticut knows that is false and he knows that's false because Senator Grassley and I together introduced legislation," he added.
Sen. Ted Cruz: "Today, Chairman Grassley & I are introducing again Grassley/Cruz... Let's target the bad guys, the… https://t.co/ZUdKuAR6CX— Steve Guest (@Steve Guest)1616510625.0
Cruz is referring to the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, a bill that he previously co-sponsored and introduced to the Senate with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The legislation would strengthen requirements for federal agencies to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), so felons and other violent criminals attempting to purchase firearms illegally would be flagged by the background check system.
It would also fund additional prosecution of gun-law violations by the Department of Justice and create a gun violence task force to stop felons and fugitives from purchasing firearms.
The Grassley-Cruz bill was first introduced as an amendment in 2013, when it received a positive vote of 52-48, with nine Democratic senators joining Republicans in support of the bill. However, some Democrats filibustered the legislation, lifting the benchmark to pass to 60 votes, which killed the bill.
"Grassley-Cruz targeted at violent criminals, targeted at felons, targeted at fugitives, targeted at those with serious mental disease to stop them from getting firearms, to put them in prison when they try to illegally buy guns," Cruz said.
"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. But what they propose, not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse. The jurisdictions in this country with the strictest gun control have among the highest rates of crime and murder, when you disarm law abiding citizens, you make them more likely to be victims if you want to stop these murders. Go after the murderers."
He further said:
We will learn in the coming days and weeks the exact motivation of the murderers in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado. We'll learn what happened there. But we already know this pattern is predictable over and over and over again, there are steps we can take to stop these crimes. And you know what the steps aren't? The steps aren't disarming law abiding citizens.
Every year, firearms are used in a defensive capacity to defend women, children, families roughly a million times a year in the United States, and the Democrats who want to take away the guns from those potential victims would create more victims of crimes, not less. I agree. It's a time for action.
And by the way, I don't apologize for thoughts or prayers. I will lift up in prayer people who are hurting, and I believe in the power of prayer and the contempt of Democrats for prayers is an odd sociological thing. But I also agree thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. We need action.
Cruz announced he would reintroduce the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act with Sen. Grassley, urging his Democratic colleagues to support the bill and refrain from a filibuster attempt.
"Let's target the bad guys, the felons, the fugitives, those with mental disease, let's put them in jail, let's stop them from getting guns," Cruz said. "Let's not scapegoat innocent, law abiding citizens and let's not target their constitutional rights."