The blood literally had not dried in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last December when the latest major assault on guns and gun owners began.
It was clear from the outset that gun control had been selected to be the showpiece — the Obamacare — of President Obama’s second term, but rising to stand in the way was freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has earned recognition as the CCRKBA’s Gun Rights Defender of the Month award winner for March.
Anti-gunners wasted no time in going into full campaign mode, complete with choreographed events ranging from a blue ribbon “Commission on Gun Violence” headed by Vice President Joe Biden and populated by anti-gun police executives and like-minded individuals to a stage-managed State of the Union address filled with victims of “gun violence” with a Presidential mantra of “give them a vote” to special hearings on Capitol Hill by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As the rhetoric has heated up, Senator Cruz willingly took a lead role on countering this campaign. He distinguished himself on a number of fronts.
Chicago Mayor (and former Obama White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel introduced thuggish Chicago politics into the equation, demanding banks that loaned money to firearm manufacturers to cut their line of credit. This was an unprecedented and totally inappropriate invasion of private commerce by a governmental agent. Senator Cruz immediately responded by sending a letter to the banks in question and to the firearm manufacturers condemning Emanuel’s actions in the strongest term. In the letter, he said “We (in Texas) do not accept the notion that government officials should behave like bullies, trying to harass or pressure private companies into enlisting into a political lobbying campaign.” He went on to invite gun companies to move to Texas. As a courtesy, he also sent a copy of the letter to Mayor Emanuel.
On Jan. 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened the next stage of the gun-grabbing campaign by holding a hearing with the title “What Should America Do About Gun Violence.” Not violence in general — but only “gun violence.”
The hearing was obviously staged for the evening news, with only a single panel invited to speak. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and eminent gun scholar Dave Kopel were on the panel, as were Baltimore County, Md., Police Chief James Johnson and former astronaut (and husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who made a cameo statement to the committee) Mark Kelly.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) tried to set the tone for the hearing, promoting largely unworkable “solutions” and attacking pro-gun testimony. The Republican line-up was equally impressive on behalf of gun rights, with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Jeff Flake (R-UT) and others. Texas was represented on the Committee by both of its senators, former state Attorney General, now Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Cruz (R-TX).
While all of the GOP committee members made good points in opposition to the Democrat proposals, Sen. Cruz immediately and accurately got to the heart of the matter, using graphics to demonstrate the fact that there is essentially no difference between so-called “assault weapons” available on the open market and firearms so clearly suited for legitimate sporting or defensive use that they are on the “good guns” list in S.150 Senator Feinstein’s latest attempt to shut down the “evil black rifle” market. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Cruz’s effective use of graphics brought the point home to everyone present.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Cruz promised if elected he would “go to Washington and shake up the status quo.” In just over a month in the Senate, he has kept that promise.
This was not Cruz’ first foray into gun politics. He played a critical role in the case of District of Columbia v Heller (2008), the landmark case where the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia’s ban on new handgun registrations and ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep arms, not subject to militia service. In that case Cruz worked to build a coalition of 31 states that submitted amicus briefs in support of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Sen. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where his Cuban-American father and Delaware-born mother were both employed in the oil business. He spent his formative years in Texas before he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, an executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Safety and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
He served as a law clerk to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, followed by similar service at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Senator Cruz and his wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, have two daughters.