“When it comes to Constitutional rights, what matters is what the Bill of Rights says. It doesn’t matter what might be popular at the moment,” said presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz about voting against an expanded background check measure in April 2013.
Cruz discussed his decision with Guns.com at the 2015 National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Nashville this past weekend, shortly after the Texas congressman spoke at a crowded convention center about gun rights.
The legislation, often referred to as the Manchin-Toomey bill — introduced by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — aimed to expand background checks to include gun sales performed online, at gun shows, and between strangers.
The senators drafted the bill in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, where 20 first-graders and six educators were murdered in cold blood by a deranged gunman. Within the coming month surveys by the Washington Post-ABC News, CNN/Opinion Research Corp., Quinnipiac University, and CBS News found roughly 90 percent of the respondents saying they support background checks for all gun sales.
Despite public support and a majority vote in the senate, the bill failed to get enough votes to avert a filibuster in April 2013. The then up-and-coming Tea Party star had been a vocal critic of the bill and other gun control measures that were up for debate.
“We’ve seen regimes across the face of the earth come and take away people’s guns, strip away their rights to defend themselves and sometimes it’s been very popular. And yet it is an inevitable prelude to tyranny,” he said.
“The Second Amendment is there so you and I could protect our homes, our families, and our children and our lives. And it’s also there as a fundamental check on government tyranny and that ultimately is not subject to public opinion polls, it’s subject to the express protections of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution,” he explained.