In a much anticipated move, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an assault weapon and high-capacity clip ban on Thursday with an 8-10 vote along Party lines.
However, the measure is seen as largely symbolic, because political analysts don’t expect it to get passed on a full Senate vote. Still, the president said the public and the survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre “deserve a vote.”
Feinstein’s proposal exempts all weapons already in possession and almost 2,200 other types of weapons, while the ban focuses on 157 military-style weapons and ammunition clips, including tanks, bazookas, rocket launchers and assault weapons.
But the drama of the day surrounded an exchange during the committee hearing between Senior Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and the Tea Party champion from Texas—Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz has only been in Congress for a few months, but he’s already made a name for himself as an arrogant radical.
Public polls have averaged almost 60 percent in favor of such bans, but Republicans have been tone-deaf to what the American people favor. They cry foul over their second amendment rights. Ted Cruz didn’t let the opportunity pass by for him to challenge the Constitutionality of Feinstein’s proposal.
Cruz directed his question at Feinstein, looking straight at her, but he talked about her in the third person, as if she weren’t even in the room
Transcript of the primary exchange from Real Clear Politics:
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX) The question that I would pose to the senior Senator from California is would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights? Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment's protection against searches and seizures could properly apply only to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Let me just make a couple of points in response. One, I'm not a sixth grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I've seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I'm not a lawyer, but after 20 years I've been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn't mean that weapons of war (should be exempt) and the Heller (Supreme Court) decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here.
Cruz, like so many other conservative zealots, probably reads the Constitution as selectively as he reads the bible in order to justify his own interpretation. He was erroneously trying to make the argument that guns of any type can’t be banned under the Second Amendment and books of any kind can’t be banned under the First Amendment. By making such an absolutist and inaccurate assessment of the Constitution according to Tea Party principles, Cruz provided a shining example of how the extreme right-wing of the Party twists context into their own version of the truth.
Books containing child pornography are banned under the Constitution and there was an assault weapons ban in place for over a decade. Even conservative Supreme Court judge Scalia has upheld bans on certain weapons.
Of Cruz’s pretentious oratory; even conservative Charles Krauthammer felt he handled the exchange with an offensive manner and a less-than-scholarly knowledge of the Constitution, because it isn’t the rigid document that Cruz tried to claim.
According to a Friday report in The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is now in the driver’s seat on how to advance the suite of gun control billsto the floor, because some Democrats feel combining the ban with other parts of the package might derail the passage of a less controversial background check law.
Critics feel that rational people, who believe that elected Congressional representatives should make laws based on facts will view Ted Cruz’s condescending and erroneous lecture of Dianne Feinstein as an example of what’s wrong on Capitol Hill.
Sadly, the Tea Party, right-winged conservatives and the NRA will view Cruz as a hero.
For a list of guns to be banned under Feinstein's measure click here.