Debate between senators heats up over assault weapons ban
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved an assault weapons ban in a party-line vote.
Like the expanded background checks proposal that passed earlier this week, every democrat on the panel voted in favor of reinstating the assault weapons ban while all the republicans on the committee voted against it.
Things got heated in Thursday's meeting between Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Dianne Feinstein who proposed the bill.
"It seems to me that all of us should begin as our foundational document with the Constitution, and the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed," Senator Cruz told Senator Feinstein.
"I'm not a 6th grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I've seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered," Senator Feinstein replied.
It is an argument from Senator Cruz that did not sway the democrats on the panel.
Senator John Cornyn attempted to make amendments to exempt veterans and victims of sexual assault from the proposed assault weapons ban; an effort ultimately rejected by the committee.
"It exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn't that enough for the people in the United States?" asked Feinstein.
Senator Cornyn believes the focus needs to be elsewhere.
"Our real concern should be that efforts to enact this ineffective gun ban are distracting congress from solutions to stop the seriously mentally deranged from buying guns, so I cannot support it," Senator Cornyn told the committee.
That's something David Henderson, chair of the Smith County Democratic Party, agrees with.
"Clearly there are too many demented people buying too many high-powered weapons," Henderson said.
However, Henderson is not against Senator Feinstein's proposal of the assault weapons ban.
"I think a 12 gauge shotgun and a big dog is probably more effective for protecting your home than an assault weapon with a banana clip, and a lot less of a threat to the public's safety," Henderson said.
He is not against the measure, but not optimistic it will survive either.
"It's not going to pass, though. It couldn't possibly get through the house," Henderson said.
Feinstein is expected to face overwhelming opposition in the full senate by republicans and democrats in republican-leaning states.
Opponents to this ban argue that assault weapons have been used in fewer than 1 in 10 crimes. Those in favor of the ban said that when it was first created in 1994, gun crimes using firearms dropped by up to 75 percent in six cities studied.
If you would like to check out Senator Feinstein's assault weapons ban summary, click here.
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