Ted Cruz, John Cornyn Push Back Against Calls for Gun Control

WASHINGTON -- Amid a growing clamor for action to address a rash of mass shootings, Sen. Ted Cruz pushed back hard on Tuesday against demands for restrictions on assault weapons, calling instead for a fresh look at a bill aimed at keeping guns away from criminals."If the objective is to stop violent crime, we should focus on stopping the violent criminals and rapists and murderers," he said in a call with reporters as Texans go to the polls on primary day. "Texans want to stop the criminals. Texans do not want Washington politicians disarming law abiding citizens."Cruz and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pushed a bill in early 2013 after a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., as an alternative to Democratic efforts to ban so-called assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The bill also includes $300 million to beef up school security -- funds that Cruz contends were cut by the Obama administration, leaving the students at a Parkland, Fla., high school vulnerable to a rampage last month that left 17 dead."What is not effective is the repeated efforts of democrats to undermine the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens," said Cruz, who is expected to coast to nomination to a second term in Tuesday's GOP primary. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, is expected to win the Democratic nomination.Gun control and approaches to school safety are a major dividing line between them.Cruz sidestepped questions about whether he would support a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines that allow shooters such as the Newtown killer to continue firing without having to pause to reload. And he declined to say whether he supports a ban on bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas concert massacre last fall that let the shooter fire at near automatic rates. He noted only that automatic weapons have been banned for 70 years, that the ATF allowed the sale of the device during the Obama administration and that President Donald Trump has ordered a ban.Texas Sen. John Cornyn also called on Democrats on Tuesday to drop their “gun control demands,” pitching his own bill to improve the federal background check system for gun purchases.Cornyn introduced the “Fix NICS Act” with Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy following the Sutherland Springs church shooting in November. The measure, named after the National Instant Background Check System, would penalize federal agencies that fail to report records and incentivize states to send criminal history records to the FBI database used for gun purchases.“We should start with what's achievable and what will actually save lives, and that describes the Fix NICS bill,” Cornyn said from the Senate floor Tuesday. “This bill could easily pass the Senate. It's already passed the House. And the president would sign it, as he told me when he called me last Thursday night.”  Continue reading...

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