Senator Ted Cruz opted to fact check actress and left-wing activist Alyssa Milano Tuesday as the pair agreed to hold a “civil, meaningful” sit-down on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting any infringement on American citizens’ right to bear arms.
Milano started the debate by sharing that she is “terrified”, being at a loss over how to keep her family safe from gun violence. Calling for “mutual respect and humility”, which would be integral in working out a positive solution for the country, Milano requested Senator Cruz to “lead” the nation’s burning gun control agenda. Sen. Cruz reiterated his support for the Second Amendment, while at the same time proposing additional legislative initiatives that would bolster school safety and prevent criminals from obtaining firearms.
Cruz then brought up the Grassley-Cruz legislation, his joint initiative with the senior senator from Iowa, which promotes the “Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2019”, namely the improvement of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and alerts to law enforcement agncies. The legislation would make “straw purchasing” of firearms and gun trafficking criminal offences, as well as allow firearms dealers to use the NICS database for voluntary background checks of employees, and allow firearms dealers to access the FBI’s stolen-gun database to make sure a weapon was not stolen prior to acquisition.
Per Cruz, the initiative would have helped prevent the recent deadly mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, on 31 August. Milano, in turn, weighed in with a quote from former President Ronal Reagan’s speech on the subject suggesting Republicans have supported gun control in the past:
“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen to own guns for sporting, for hunting, and so forth, or for home defence. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for the defence of the home”, Milano quoted Reagan as saying, with Cruz butting in with a bit of an addition, or – better said - a correction:
“Machine guns are functionally illegal right now”, the Texas senator said, adding meaningfully that the machine gun has been “functionally illegal for 80 years” and “you can’t purchase” one.
He further elaborated suggesting that an assault weapon ban wouldn’t have a great “material” impact on gun violence, contending that given the objective “to keep people safe”, the way to fulfil this is to adopt the Cruz-Grassley legislation – something that Fred Guttenberg, the father of the Parkland shooting victim present at the debate, said he would support provided the objectives are completed.
“We could pass these reforms right now and make our country safer. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to do just that”, Cruz said in response.
Separately, Sen. Cruz added that many leading Democrats, including former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), have called for a national gun confiscation via a gun buyback programme.
The gun control debate has resumed with an utmost intensity after a recent shooting in Texas, after a gunman opened fire between the cities of Odessa and Midland, killing eight and injuring 25 others. Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said the suspect, who was killed in an altercation with police officers, used an AR-type weapon to carry out the attack.
The incident came just weeks after two consecutive mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 dead. US President Donald Trump addressed the latest shooting, telling reporters that he is in talks with Congress discussing ways to prevent gun violence, noting though that the latest incident "hasn't changed anything" related to the debate.