This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Jan LaRue was published March 19, 2013 on the American Thinker website.
Here’s what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) learned from questioning Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) about the constitutionality of her “assault weapons” ban. She’s out of estrogen and she used to have a gun.
Feinstein came armed with a scowl and a ruler when she confronted Cruz at the Constitution Corral. The outcome was so not OK for her. You can watch their exchange over S.150 during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday.
Feinstein actually objected when Cruz referred to her “ban” of certain weapons even though her bill title is the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.” Feinstein’s “ban” isn’t a “ban” in her mind. She thinks that Americans don’t need any more choices than the 2,271 guns she grudgingly permits under her “ban.” She implored Cruz: “Isn’t that enough?”
Actually, Feinstein’s list of 2,271 guns would be reduced to zero if she had the votes. She admitted as much after her 1993 ban became law. “Turn them all in,” was her stated goal.
Capricious progressives like Feinstein love to “expand” constitutional rights except when they’re eliminating those they don’t like. Then it becomes the Bill of Privileges instead of the “Bill of Rights.”
Feinstein refused to expand S.150 to exempt military veterans because they might be “mentally incapacitated.”
Feinstein’s bill is headed for Boothill so why pay it any attention? The Cruz-Feinstein colloquy is indicative of good things to come.
Cruz is the new sheriff in town who takes seriously his oath to uphold the Constitution. Cruz’s interrogation of Attorney General Eric Holder about constitutional limits on the President’s use of drones on American citizens on U.S. soil and his questioning of Feinstein put the Senate and the administration on notice. They’re not going to get a pass from him when they ignore constitutional constraints on the federal government.
Cruz politely asked Feinstein:
“The question that I would pose to the senior senator from California is, ‘Would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights? Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures could properly apply only to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?'”
Instead of a substantive answer, Feinstein reacted as an angry elitist who seems to think that being a “senior senator” puts her in a class above a newly-elected upstart daring to imply that her bill violates the Constitution. Said Feinstein:
“I’m not a sixth 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. Look, there are other weapons. I’ve been up — I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so I — you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”
As Solicitor General of Texas, Cruz helped defend the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court. After critics claimed that his statements at the hearing revealed his misunderstanding of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, Sen. Cruz’s office responded with a press release summarizing his statements at the hearing:
“Heller makes clear that laws prohibiting weapons ‘in common use’ for self-defense are unconstitutional. Thus, under Heller ‘dangerous and unusual’ weapons–like fully automatic machine guns and sawed-off shotguns–can be restricted, but weapons like so-called ‘assault weapons’ which are undoubtedly ‘in common use’ (with over 4 million owned by Americans) cannot.”
After admitting that Congress may not ban books under the First Amendment, Feinstein, with a little help from her fellow leftists on the Committee, tried to equate her weapons ban under the Second Amendment with the exclusion of child pornography from the First Amendment.
Child pornography is a crime scene photograph. It’s the best evidence of a heinous crime, the sexual assault of a child. It has nothing whatsoever to do with speech and books the First Amendment was intended to protect.
Cameras would be banned if Congress applied Feinstein’s solution to reducing “gun crimes” to stopping child pornographers. The Senate would do well to remember that instead of banning cameras, Congress funded increased prosecution and prison sentences for perverts who misuse cameras to sexually exploit children.
During debate over her 1993 “assault weapons” ban, Feinstein recounted how domestic terrorists shot out the windows of her home. She admitted carrying a concealed weapon, saying, “If somebody tried to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”
Somebody should ask Feinstein if the .38 special she carried for four years was the only protection she had against terrorists who attacked her home. Were there guards armed with guns whose magazines hold more than 10 rounds, like those who protect her in the Capitol?
Murderous gangs shoot out windows of homes and kill people daily in cities controlled by arrogant anti-constitutionalists. Most of us prefer to have some of the “commonly use[d]” guns, such as the AR-15, which Feinstein would ban.
I bet Feinstein would like to add the “Cruz Missile” to her list of banned weapons.