Ted Cruz on Gun Control

Republican Texas Senator


No rioters came to Houston because of Second Amendment

When we saw riots all across the country, I remember there were reports that riots were going to come into. Mostly peaceful, fiery, but mostly peaceful. There were reports, riots were going to come into the suburbs. I got to tell you, in Houston, where I live, there weren't any rioters. Because, let's be very clear, if there had been, they would discover what the state of Texas thinks about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Source: Remarks by Senator Cruz at 2021 CPAC Conference , Feb 26, 2021

Jurisdictions with strict gun control have high crime rates

Virtually all the Democrat proposals were directed at restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That may be a political objective for the Democrats, but it is singularly ineffective for reducing violent crimes.

If you look at the data, virtually all the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control law have the highest crime rates and murder rates. Conversely, the jurisdictions with the mildest gun control laws have among the lowest crime rates and murder rates. Many rural states such as Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, and West Virginia have among the highest gun ownership rates and the lowest murder and manslaughter rates, according to recent data.

Source: One Vote Away, by Ted Cruz, p.57 , Sep 20, 2020

Led fight not to ban assault weapons

Q: Support more restrictive gun control legislation?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Led fight not to ban assault weapons. Calls gun control efforts "tiresome."

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. Supports universal background checks & banning assault-style weapons.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race , Oct 9, 2018

Purpose of Second Amendment is protection against tyranny

[Former Congressman and radio talk-show host] Joe Walsh took to Twitter [prior to the 2016 election] to announce his post-election day plans. "On November 9th," he wrote, "if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket. You in?"

It may be tempting to write off Walsh's latest proclamation. But this sentiment--that a Donald Trump loss might justify the violent overthrow of a Hillary Clinton administration--is a longtime GOP talking point. The NRA has longed peddled the "insurrectionist" theory of the Second Amendment, arguing that the right to bear arms was intended to protect citizens against a tyrannical ruler.

This insurrectionist theory has gained a foothold in the Republican Party. During his campaign for the presidential nomination, Texas Republican Ted Cruz asserted that the Second Amendment provides "a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny--for the protection of liberty."

Source: Slate.com, "Grabbing My Musket," on 2018 Texas Senate race , Oct 26, 2016

Lack of individual right to guns leads to confiscation

The court could rule that not a single person in this room has any right under the Second Amendment and the government could confiscate your guns. In any Republican primary, everyone is going to say they support the Second Amendment. But the voters are savvier than that. They recognize that people's actions don't always match their words. I've got a proven record fighting to defend the Second Amendment.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Obama is coming for our guns

Friend, I own guns. I'm planning on keeping them.But there's a problem: Obama is coming for our guns. You see: Obama's aides have alerted the press that if Congress won't cooperate-- Obama will use executive actions to, "keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn't have access to them," it reads. By "others who shouldn't have...them," Obama means you and me.
Source: Washington Post 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 16, 2015

Enforce gun laws on dangerously mentally ill

On December 14, 2012, a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire on classrooms of little children. He murdered twenty children and six adults. It was the deadliest shooting at school in American history.

The president could have come out and pressed for stronger law enforcement efforts targeting violent criminals and dangerous individuals with significant mental illnesses. Had he done so, the effort would have been met with bipartisan agreement and swift action in Congress. Instead, the president decided to use this tragedy as an excuse to further his long-standing goals of restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.245 , Jun 30, 2015

Assault weapon bans have had ZERO impact on crime

The first "assault weapons" ban was passed in the 1990s. It was one of the least effective pieces of legislation Congress has ever passed. After that legislation expired in 2004, the Department of Justice studied its effect & concluded it had precisely ZERO impact on preventing violent crime.

I recall in the middle of the debate, my wife asked quite innocently, "Should people really be carrying machine guns everywhere they go?" She was surprised when I told her that fully automatic weapons have been effectively illegal for general possession since 1934.

With a confused look, she then asked, "Well, what is an assault weapon then?" I replied that the most accurate definition of an assault weapon under the Democrats' legislation is "any gun that looks scary." The definition has nothing to do with the firing capacity of the weapon. It has nothing to do with the lethality of the weapon. It simply has to do with whether the gun looks like the sort of weapon our soldiers carry into battle.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.246 , Jun 30, 2015

Criminals like nothing better than unarmed victims

It's also worth noting that gun control laws are notoriously ineffective. Facts matter, and cities with the strictest gun control regularly have among the highest murder rates. Thus, D.C. and Chicago have for decades had horrendous crime rates, even though both have been at the extreme vanguard of taking away their residents' gun rights. In contrast, Texas cities like Dallas and Houston and El Paso--where citizens are often armed and able to protect themselves--have murder rates that are a fraction of Chicago's and Washington's.

Similarly, Australia recently followed the path of President Obama and the Democrats, responding to a terrible shooting by banning handguns altogether. The results have been disturbing. Since banning handguns, sexual assaults and rapes in Australia have skyrocketed, because there are a few things a criminal likes better than an unarmed victim.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.253-4 , Jun 30, 2015

2nd Amendment is ultimate check against government tyranny

"The Second Amendment to the Constitution isn't for just protecting hunting rights, and it's not only to safeguard your right to target practice," Cruz has said, per the New York Times. "It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny--for the protection of liberty."

[Other Republicans assert similar sentiments]: Rick Santorum has said, "The Second Amendment is there to protect the First Amendment!" Rand Paul is an ardent defender of the Second Amendment. Rick Perry is an NRA supporter and Second Amendment advocate

Source: Rolling Stone magazine on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 18, 2015

Stand-your-ground laws are not veiled racism

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida in early 2012 when Martin was walking through Zimmerman's neighborhood, later appeared on Capitol Hill for a hearing on the controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws. When it came time for Senator Cruz to speak, he began by offering his condolences for the Fulton family's loss, but then moved on to defend the trial-by-jury process that found Zimmerman not guilty of murder. Cruz concluded his argument by stating, "The notion that Stand Your Ground laws are some form of veiled racism may be a convenient political attack but it is not borne out by the facts remotely."
Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 80-1 , Mar 7, 2014

Served as lawyer for the National Rifle Association

In the late 1990s, after his clerkships, Cruz came at crossroads in his law career. He turned down an offer from a big firm with a big signing bonus to join a boutique firm then known as Cooper & Carvin, in Washington.

The firm was nine months old and had only six lawyers. Cruz was the first new associate the partners recruited. Cooper has long been the outside counsel to the National Rifle Association, and, he recalled, "Ted was basically my lieutenant on all N.R.A. matters."

Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 41 , Mar 7, 2014

Prosecute felons who try to illegally purchase guns

Here are three facts that Obama does not want to address:And that's exactly what the Grassley-Cruz bill would have done. It allocated $50 million to create a task force to prosecute felons and fugitives trying to illegally purchase guns; it provided $45 million to increase gun-crime prosecution in the 15 most dangerous US cities; and it restored $300 million in school-safety funding that the Obama budget had cut.
Source: Houston Chronicle op-ed by Sen. Ted Cruz , May 7, 2013

Target violent criminals with serious mental illnesses

There are two basic approaches to gun legislation: We can target violent criminals and those with serious mental illnesses or we can restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. Obama and Sen. Harry Reid favor the latter. But the former is what actually works.

The Grassley-Cruz legislation had the most bipartisan support of all the gun proposals. But the Democrats, led by Reid, filibustered and killed the bill. Why? They wanted instead to pass legislation that would extend the background check system to private sales. Their bill would not have allocated one penny to prosecuting felons, fugitives or gun crimes. And gun registration has historically been the predicate for gun confiscation.

Americans are understandably reluctant to take any steps down a path toward a federal gun registry. Instead, we should protect the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens. And we should do what works: targeting felons, fugitives and gun crime and improving school safety.

Source: Houston Chronicle op-ed by Sen. Ted Cruz , May 7, 2013

Opposes unreasonable and burdensome gun restrictions

Ted Cruz has led the way in defense of our right to keep and bear arms.
Source: Campaign website, www.tedcruz.org, "Issues" , Jul 17, 2011

Voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.

Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.

Reference: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act; Bill S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 ; vote number 13-SV103 on Apr 17, 2013

Opposes restricting the Second Amendment.

Cruz opposes the CC Voters Guide question on the Second Amendment

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Further restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q10 on Oct 31, 2012

Oppose the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty.

Cruz signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 50 Senators

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our concern and regret at your decision to sign the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. For the following reasons, we cannot give our advice and consent to this treaty:

  1. The treaty violates a 2009 red line laid down by your own administration: "the rule of consensus decision-making." In April 2013, after the treaty failed to achieve consensus, it was adopted by majority vote in the UN General Assembly.
  2. The treaty allows amendments by a 3/4 majority vote. When amended, it will become a source of political and legal pressure on the US to comply in practice with amendments it was unwilling to accept.
  3. The treaty includes only a weak, non-binding reference to the lawful ownership and use of firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. It encourages governments to collect the identities of individual end users of imported firearms at the national level, which would constitute the core of a national gun registry
  4. The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is "ambiguous." By becoming party to the treaty, the US would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear.
  5. The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They will steadily subject the US to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty.
  6. The treaty criteria as established could hinder the US in fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as Taiwan and Israel.
We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the US does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the US as bound to uphold its object and purpose.
Source: Letter to Obama from 50 Senators 13-UNATT on Sep 25, 2013

Reciprocity across state lines for concealed carry.

Cruz signed Press release on bill S.446 sponsored by 40 Senators

Press release in support: Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) cosponsored legislation to allow law-abiding citizens with concealed carry privileges to take firearms across state lines. Hyde-Smith has added her support to the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (S.446), which would allow qualified individuals to carry a concealed handgun into another state in accordance with that state's laws. Concealed carry permits are not transferrable between states under current law.

"For law-abiding gun owners with concealed carry permits, this legislation would affirm their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights in other states with right-to-carry laws," Hyde-Smith said. "This is sensible legislation that recognizes states' authority to issue firearms licenses and permits, while supporting the rights of gun owners."

Boston Globe Op-Ed (12/14/17) in opposition, by Mayor Marty Walsh: We're grateful for the common-sense laws that help us do our jobs. We will fight any national policy that threatens to send us backward. That includes a bill called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. It would force each state to recognize the concealed-carry standards of every other state, even those with dramatically weaker standards for who can get their hands on a gun. Given that the gun lobby has blocked the creation of a national database, it would be extremely difficult for local police to determine whether those out-of-state permits were even legitimate. Law enforcement all over the country strongly opposes this legislation.

If the US Senate passes Concealed Carry Reciprocity, people from other states who have criminal histories, who would never pass a background check in Massachusetts, would be able to carry a loaded, concealed gun into our neighborhoods. We know this is a bad idea. Our police officers, our neighbors, and the responsible gun owners of Boston agree.

Source: Press release on bill S.446 sponsored by 40 Senators 18LTR-CCCR on Apr 26, 2018

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