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Sen. Cruz: Federal Red Flag Laws Are Not the Answer to Reducing Gun Violence

April 28, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, today delivered opening remarks at a hearing on Extreme Risk Orders, also known as ‘Red Flag Laws.' Excerpts of his remarks are below.

WATCH: Sen. Cruz: Federal Red Flag Laws Are Not the Answer to Reducing Gun Violence

"In Texas, we have seen far too many mass murders at the hands of deranged and sick individuals. I was in Santa Fe the morning of that shooting. Santa Fe High School is less than an hour away from my house. I was in El Paso at the Wal-Mart after another mass murder. I was in Midland, Odessa after yet another. I was in Dallas where five police officers were murdered by a deranged radical. And I was in Sutherland Springs in that beautiful sanctuary where a monster murdered innocent women and children. I care deeply about stopping violent crime, and gun crime in particular. I've spent much of my adult life in law enforcement trying to stop violent criminals who prey upon the innocent, and working to ensure that they receive the most stringent punishment. But one thing is abundantly clear - if the objective is to stop violent crime, restricting the rights of law abiding citizens doesn't work. In fact, it typically makes crime worse because when you disarm law abiding citizens, you make them more likely to be victims.

"Two years ago, when we had a hearing on red flag laws in the full committee, I said at the time that those laws could potentially be part of the solution set at the state level, and I still believe that. The states are laboratories of democracy. They are the proper place to debate the substance of red flag laws. We shouldn't be imposing a federal standard or putting the federal government's very heavy thumb on the scale with coercive grant programs. Especially when 19 states and the District of Columbia are already experimenting with these laws. But I also said, and continue to believe, that even at the state level, laws must be narrowly targeted to those who pose an extreme risk, while simultaneously giving full force to the fundamental rights of all law abiding Americans."

[...]

"In August 2019, a television interviewer asked then candidate Joe Biden the following question, ‘So to gun owners out there who say, well, a Biden administration means they're going to come for my guns?' Biden's response: ‘Bingo.' They're not hiding it. So it's no surprise that this administration and Democrats in Congress, and anti-gun groups are all pushing red flag laws that will take guns from law abiding Americans. In Connecticut, for example, 32 percent of confiscation orders are overturned when a judge finally hears both sides of the story, and this is after the government has already seized the firearm. This means that one out of every three people who has his or her firearm seized by the government under Connecticut's red flag law is an innocent, law abiding citizen. That is an unacceptable rate of protecting constitutional rights."

[...]

"The red flag laws being pushed by Democrats and gun control activists are designed to deprive Americans of that fundamental right. And for what? As one of today's witnesses wrote in 2020 after reviewing all of the available literature, ‘No research - no research has found any statistical reduction in crime, including mass shooting fatalities from confiscation laws. And studies about suicide reduction show mixed results.' That's what the data show.

"We need to act and we need to act forcefully to stop gun crimes, and I have introduced legislation and fought for legislation to do that. But federal red flag laws, I don't believe are the answer. We don't need to impose Connecticut's dismissive approach to Second Amendment rights on the entire country." 

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