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Sen. Cruz: ‘Freedom Only Exists If Citizens Have the Means to Defend It’

Pens Op-Ed for Dallas Morning News Ahead of National Rifle Association Convention in Dallas

May 3, 2018



HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today penned the following op-ed for the Dallas Morning News in advance of the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting. In the op-ed, Sen. Cruz highlights his commitment to defending the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans.

Read the op-ed in its entirety here and below:

Ted Cruz: Freedom only exists if citizens have the means to defend it
Dallas Morning News
May 3, 2018
By: Senator Ted Cruz 

Today, tens of thousands of people are here in Dallas for the National Rifle Association's Annual Meetings. Some voices on the national stage have loudly condemned these men and women, but I'm proud to welcome them to Texas and to thank them for defending our constitutional rights. 

When the Supreme Court recognized, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment, the Justices reaffirmed a concept that had gone unquestioned for most of our nation's history: a free society exists only if its citizens have the means to defend themselves and their God-given rights.

From the days of the Minutemen mustering to fight redcoats at Lexington and Concord, to civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X recognizing the necessity of firearms to protect their families, Americans have recognized that responsible gun ownership is indispensable to the preservation of their liberties. 

Knowing that forced disarmament is predictably a first step toward subjugation, Americans have usually responded to such attempts with the resolve of the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales. When told by General Santa Ana to surrender their cannon and guns, they replied: "Come and take it."

Nevertheless, since the early 1900s, some liberals have been eager to end the Second Amendment altogether. Today, knowing they cannot pursue this goal head-on without Americans rejecting their real agenda, most liberals content themselves by trimming around the edges of the Second Amendment, fiddling with the lengths of barrels, capacities of magazines, open and concealed carry, and more, to inch toward their true goal: the practical elimination of the Second Amendment.

But lately, the mask has slipped. Witness Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' recent opinion piece in the New York Times, titled "Repeal the Second Amendment." He admits that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms after all -- something some liberals have denied for decades, and that Justice Stevens tried to write out of the Constitution in his dissent in Heller -- so he concludes we should just get rid of it. 

Coastal elites who have never been to shooting ranges consider even responsible firearm ownership akin to tracking manure onto the kitchen floor: perhaps not criminal, but certainly not acceptable, and worth stopping. 

This makes them especially susceptible to biased reporting that casts legal firearm enthusiasts like NRA members as villains. In fact, most of NRA members are model citizens. Concealed-carry permit holders commit crime at lower rates than the general population, the vast majority of crimes involving guns are committed with illegally obtained weapons, and most mass shootings tragically occur in legally designated gun-free zones.

Ignorance of the subject matter also makes gun-grabbers sound like dunces to their fellow Americans who are even passingly familiar with firearms, which has rightly led to most courts -- as well as the court of public opinion -- ignoring them. Firearm policies should not be written by folks who think phrases like ".30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second" make sense.

Having failed to gut the Second Amendment in Congress and before the courts, these liberals have enlisted the financial industry to impose through crony capitalism what they could not manage through law. Several private financial institutions have recently limited gun dealers and owners' access to financial services, and the State of New York's financial-services bureaucrats are actively conspiring to deny the Second Amendment rights of individuals. 

The way to stop crime is by targeting criminals, and I've championed legislation in the Senate to do exactly that, not by taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. By blaming atrocities committed by madmen and terrorists on honest American businesses, national liberals avoid the difficult but necessary process of crafting policy based on actual facts like mental health, school safety and real firearm statistics. Instead, they intimidate corporate boardrooms into persecuting law-abiding gun owners for them.

But these intimidation campaigns are also profoundly ill-advised, targeting firearm manufacturers, dealers and owners who already operate within the law and are often the first to run toward danger to defend the innocent. We saw that in the case of Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor who grabbed his AR-15 and stopped the Sutherland Springs shooter. We see such heroism by gun owners all across the country.

As has been so often observed, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Millions of law-abiding NRA members know this, as do many millions more of their fellow Americans. And I will continue to defend the right to keep and bear arms -- and all our rights under the Constitution -- as senator for the great state of Texas.



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