Following President Barack Obama’s emotional appeal to Congress to toughen background checks for gun purchases, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has given a fiery condemnation and pledged to “target violent criminals.”
The GOP presidential candidate declared that, if elected president, his first priority will be to repeal Obama’s newly issued executive orders, according to TheBlaze.
“He can abuse his power all he wants -- he has a phone and he has a pen,” Cruz told a crowd during an Iowa campaign rally on Jan. 4. “But if you live by the pen, you die by the pen. And my pen has got an eraser.”
On Jan. 5, Cruz elaborated on his position on background checks, telling TheBlaze that he is not against enforcing gun laws.
“Of course violence is a problem in America,” the Texas senator admitted in response to Obama’s tearful invocation of the Newtown massacre in 2012.
“President Obama had an opportunity to bring Americans together, to work with Republicans and Democrats to target violent criminals, to go after felons and fugitives … instead, unfortunately, President Obama did what he’s done his whole his entire tenure: he focused not on the bad guys, but on law-abiding citizens, on seeking to strip the constitutional protections of law-abiding citizens.”
Cruz is referring to Obama’s call to Congress to pass a requirement of universal background checks and restrictions on high-capacity magazines. Those efforts were thwarted by congressional Republicans.
Cruz referenced his own 2013 bill, the Law Enforcement Alternative, which was designed to create a “Cruz Task Force” to go after gun purchasers who fail criminal background checks, The Hill reports.
The bill was co-authored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and received approval from the National Rifle Association. While it would have posed tougher penalties on gun trafficking, it would have loosened restrictions on transferring guns across state lines.
As with most recent laws aimed at reducing gun violence, the bill died in Congress.
“It focused on the bad guys, on the violent criminals,” Cruz concluded to TheBlaze. “In my view, the violent criminals, we should come down on them like a ton of bricks.”