HOUSTON – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today told attendees at the NRA Annual Meeting that ALL of the Constitution matters, even the Second Amendment.
“It seems to me that when the Constitution says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, that means the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” he told an enthusiastic crowd at the NRA meetings in Houston.
“The Constitution matters. All of the Constitution. It’s not pick and choose. It’s not take what part you like and get rid of the parts you don’t like,” said Cruz. “Every word of the Constitution matters. It is our fundamental protection of our liberties against the government.”
He compared the “ginormous” American flag that formed the NRA backdrop to the famous cinematic portrayal of General George S. Patton:
“Standing in front of this ginormous American flag is the closest this lawyer will come to feeling like Gen. Patton. But I’m looking out at an army, and the voice of each of you is how we win. And because each of you spoke out and because millions of Americans spoke out two weeks ago, when those proposals came to a vote, every amendment that would have violated our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was voted down.”
Cruz admonished attendees that even though they had won that battle, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were mounting a new effort to thwart the will of the American people.
Polls show that a large number of Americans support tougher background checks, but oppose most of the other changes to gun laws that were voted down weeks ago.
Statistics from the Department of Justice reveal that approximately 40 percent of guns used in the commission of violent crimes are purchased from illegal street sources and buyers do not undergo background checks.
Only 0.7 percent, according to the DOJ, buy guns from gun shows – the much debated “gun show loophole.”
Cruz also challenged Biden to a debate on how to “stop crime.”
“If Vice President Biden really believes the facts are on his side and this is not an exercise in political power, I would think he would welcome the opportunity to talk about the sources of violent crime and how we can do everything we can to stop it,” Cruz said.
Cruz is the junior senator from the state of Texas, fresh from a grassroots electoral victory that displaced longtime political stalwart Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a race that Dewhurst led overwhelmingly.
Cruz has gained the attention of Americans for his brash brushoff of an old Senate tradition where newcomers do not speak on the floor right away. He’s responded to attacks on civil liberties, and demanded assurances from the Obama administration that the CIA drone program would not be used in domestic airspace to kill American citizens.
Cruz also grilled Attorney General Eric Holder, according to reports, when he pressed the nation’s chief legal officer to answer a “simple question” – as Cruz explained to an audience of state and local Republican officials in Harris County this past week.
Cruz asked Holder repeatedly to answer “yes” or “no,” to the question of whether or not killing American citizens is “constitutional.”
Holder twice replied that he didn’t think it [a drone attack] was “appropriate.”
Cruz was also part of a nationally televised filibuster – breaking historical records for time on the floor.
“An amazing thing happened,” said Cruz at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner last week, “Americans were glued to CSPAN.”
When an entire list of Obama agenda gun restrictions, rules, regulations and requirements was voted down recently in the Senate Senate President Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was so upset he withdrew the entire bill – leaving open his options for bringing it up at a time when less attention might be focused on it.
The repeated defeats for the Obama agenda left the president and others angry.
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Obama lashed out.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., scoffed, “It shows us the cowardice of the Senate.”
Reid mocked supporters of Second Amendment rights by saying they were “preventing imagined tyranny.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., scolded colleagues by telling senators to “show some guts,” adding, “I am really chagrined and concerned.”
It looked like Vice President Joe Biden wiped away tears after a father of a Newtown victim spoke in the Rose Garden following the defeat of the amendment.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed “extremists.” He said, “More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby.”
He declared victory after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent him a letter assuring him that the president cannot use drones to kill American non-combatants on U.S. soil.
“We have separation of powers to protect our rights. That’s what government was organized to do and that’s what the Constitution was put in place to do,” he said.
In the letter to Paul, Holder said, “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
Holder earlier told Paul in response to a question from the senator that the U.S. never has carried out a drone strike against a U.S. citizen on American soil and it would be “unlikely.”
However, Holder also said he could not rule it out entirely.
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder’s letter said.
He confirmed Obama “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”
Cruz joined Paul in the filibuster effort, adding a special flavor of tradition to the atmosphere by reminding the chamber that it was the 177th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, and he read from a letter written by Col. William Travis, who led the Texans at the Alamo against the invading Mexicans.