It isn't often that a freshman senator schools a veteran senator on the Constitution but that's precisely what happened this week when Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX), dismantled Sen. Dianne Feinstein's, (D-Calif.), rationalization for violating the Second Amendment.
Sen. Feinstein essentially argued that her gun confiscation bill was constitutional because she had walked through the crime scene where then-San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated.
That undoubtedly left quite the impression on then-Supervisor Feinstein. That said, that isn't a valid argument on whether her legislation is constitutional.
When Sen. Cruz spoke, he spoke about his representing 31 states in the Heller case that the Supreme Court heard in 2009. Here's what Sen. Cruz said about his participation in the Heller case:
My fourth and final point is that the Constitution should be the touchstone of everything we do. Some have suggested in this hearing that the role of Congress is to pass laws and it's up to the courts to determine constitutionality. I would point out that every one of us takes an oath to defend the Constitution and that is a fundamental obligation of every member of this body.
There has been a suggestion that Heller would allow this regulation. I would point out that I am not unfamiliar with the Heller case. Indeed, I represented 31 states before the Supreme Court in the Heller case. So I have an intimate familiarity with that case, having been an active part in litigating and winning it 5-4 before the Supreme Court. And what the Supreme Court said in Heller -- it did say there are some restrictions on the Second Amendment that are permissable. For example, it specifically identified the current ban on fully automatic machine guns. But it also said that weapons that are in common use, such as, in that case handguns were the principle issue being discussed, and the same arguments that are being suggested about why assault weapons could be banned were made by the District of Columbia in Heller why handguns could be banned.
The Supreme Court said "No, if they're in common use for self defense, they cannot be banned consistent with the Second Amendment." We have heard testimony that there are some 4,000,000 weapons that would be covered by this legislation. I would suggest that, by any measure, 4,000,000 weapons qualifies as common use. So, under the terms in Heller, they can not be constitutionally prohibited.
In other words, handguns and other firearms that are frequently used for self defense can't be banned without violating the Second Amendment.
What's stunning is that Minnesota's senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, both voted for Sen. Feinstein's legislation after Sen. Cruz dismantled Sen. Feinstein's arguments for her legislation.
Sen. Franken's and Sen. Klobuchar's votes essentially said that they were willing to ignore the Supreme Court's clear ruling that the Second Amendment allowed people the right to defend themselves.
It's important to note that Sen. Feinstein's legislation would set up a list of 2,271 models of firearms that the Second Amendment 'protects', followed by a lengthy list of handguns and semiautomatic weapons that Sen. Feinstein would ban.
When Sen. Franken took his oath of office, he swore to protect the US Constitution. This week's vote is proof that, in Sen. Franken's mind, he swore to protect only the parts of the Constitution with which he agrees.
That isn't protecting the Constitution. That's destabilizing the Constitution. Not enforcing the Second Amendment uniformly, Sen. Franken, Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Klobuchar are essentially introducing uncertainty into the enforcement of the Constitution.
It's fair to ask, in light of their willingness to ignore a part of the Bill of Rights that they don't like, whether there are other parts of the Constitution they're willing to destabilize and/or ignore.
Sen. Franken's unwillingness to protect the entire Constitution is troubling. The destabilizing effect his indifference will have is unacceptable because Sen. Franken is violating his oath of office.