By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – After a tense hearing Thursday morning, the Democrat-control Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill banning more than 160 military-style assault weapons on a party-line vote.
The measure passed the committee 10 to 8 and now heads to the Senate floor.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, equated supporting such a restriction on the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with placing limits on free speech, a right guaranteed in the 1st Amendment.
Here’s a look at the exchange between Cruz and committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California via the Washington Post:
Speaking directly to Feinstein, Cruz asked: “Would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing to 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 law?”Visibly angry, Feinstein shot back.
“I’m not a sixth grader,” she said. “I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal with the Constitution. I have great respect for it.”
Feinstein said Senate can place what it thinks are appropriate limits on gun ownership:
Incidentally, this [bill] does not prohibit — you use the word prohibit – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that other people use in close combat? I don’t think so. So I come from a different place than you do.”
As the Senate actively works to limit gun purchases, several states are expanding gun access.
Utah passed a bill allowing concealed carry of handguns without a permit provided that the weapon doesn’t have a bullet in the chamber. That bill now heads to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk.
Lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill earlier this week that would allow teachers with proper training to bring weapons to school. The measure now heads to the Oklahoma Senate. Pat McGuigan over at Oklahoma Watchdog covered the bill’s passage here.
Contact: Dustin@Watchdog.org or @DustinHurst via Twitter.