Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave an impassioned defense of the Second Amendment during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Texas, days after a man murdered 19 children at an elementary school.
Cruz’s remarks come after an 18-year-old Latino attacked Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday before being killed by an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent. The response by local enforcement officials has been the focus of most of the criticism following the tragedy as numerous mistakes were made.
“If children are the picture of innocence, then the lunatics and the monsters like this one, the one who would deliberately murder children, they are the picture of evil,” Cruz said. “The anguish of those families right now is unimaginable. The very worst pain on Earth. All of us in Texas need to come together and comfort those families right now. We need to love them, embrace them, and take care of them.”
Cruz said that it was important for officials to understand what was driving tragedies like the one in Uvalde because “when we were growing up, this kind of thing didn’t happen.”
“Kids may have worried about getting into a fist fight at school, maybe a bloody nose at recess, but we never worried about a psychopath coming into our classrooms to commit murder.” Cruz slammed “the elites who dominate our culture” for pushing the notion that “firearms lie at the root of the problem.”
“It’s far easier to slander one’s political adversaries and to demand that responsible citizens forfeit their constitutional rights than it is to examine the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil,” Cruz said. “It’s far less comfortable to ask why despair and isolation and violent hatred is so prevalent in America. It requires a sick soul to drive a truck into a crowded sidewalk, to plan a bomb at a marathon, or to fly a plane into a building. It requires a sick soul to open fire in a movie theater or in a church or in a school. A speeding automobile in the hands of a madman is as deadly as is a jet airplane.”
“Tragedies like the events of this week are a mirror forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing, looking at broken families, absent fathers, declining church attendance, social media bullying, violent online content, desensitizing the act of murder in video games, chronic isolation, prescription drug, and opioid abuse and their collective effects on the psyche of young Americans is both complicated and multifaceted,” Cruz continued. “It’s a lot easier to moralize about guns and to shriek about those you disagree with politically, but it’s never been about guns.”
Cruz noted that for millions of Americans, the Second Amendment is not an abstract theory, they live in conditions that require them to protect themselves from evil. Cruz said that the Obama White House reported that firearms “are used defensively to stop a crime between 500,000 and one million times every single year.”
“Taking guns away from these responsible Americans will not make them safer, nor will it make our nation more secure,” Cruz said. “In an age where elites embrace defunding the police, when homelessness runs rampant, when gangs dominate entire communities, and when radical district attorneys refuse to prosecute violent crime in cities across America, rarely has the Second Amendment been more necessary to secure the rights of our fellow citizens.”
Cruz noted that there are plenty of major cities across the U.S. that have strict gun control laws and yet are still violent and among some of the most dangerous places in the U.S.
Cruz also cited a quote from John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, who wrote, “Out of the 101 countries where we have identified mass public shootings occurring, the United States ranked 66 in the per capita frequency of these attacks and 56th in the murder rate.”
Cruz noted that the Uvalde attacker passed a background check and that solutions offered by Democrats to address the problem would not have stopped the tragedy.
Cruz noted that Democrats filibustered legislation that he created in 2013 with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that “was designed to take the guns out of the hands of felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness.”
“Grassley-Cruz did three things,” Cruz explained. “First, it would mandate that the Department of Justice conduct an audit of federal agencies to make sure that all felony convictions have been reported to the database. Second, Grassley-Cruz would create a gun crime task force at the Department of Justice, specifically to prosecute felons or fugitives who tried to buy firearms illegally. In 2010, there were 48,000 felons and fugitives who tried to illegally buy guns. The Obama Department of Justice prosecuted only 44 of them. That is indefensible. Third, Grassley-Cruz would’ve authorized $300 million for school safety improvement grants to harden our schools. When Grassley-Cruz came to the Senate floor for a vote in 2013, 52 senators voted yes, including nine Democrats. It was the most bipartisan piece of comprehensive legislation before the Senate.”
“So, why didn’t Grassley-Cruz pass into law if a majority of the Senate voted for it? Because Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and the Democrats filibustered it,” Cruz concluded on the matter. “If you want to talk about policy proposals that could have stopped at least some of these mass murders, Grassley-Cruz is a perfect example.”
In closing his speech, Cruz said, “We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens.”
“Now is not the time to yield to panic or intimidation or fear,” he said. “Now is not the time for lies. It is not the time for empty political gestures. Now is the time for unity. Now is the time for love. And now is the time for action to protect our rights, to stop those with evil in their hearts and to do everything humanly possible to protect our children and to protect our families.”