Ted Cruz in NY: Democrats Want to Restrict Gun Owners, Not Criminals

Cruz Duck Hunt Nati HarnikAP
Nati Harnik/AP

Tough penalties for criminals are key to stopping gun violence, but Democrats are too busy targeting law-abiding citizens, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said April 18 during a town hall event held on Good Morning America.

Gun violence came up when audience member Dimas Salaberrios — a former drug boss in New York City, now a pastor in the Bronx — said, “In my community here in New York City, guns are coming in from the south, into our African-American/Latino communities. And I wanted to know, if you become president, what would you do to stop the gun pipeline from coming into my neighborhoods from the south?”

Cruz thanked Salaberrios for his ministry and work with young people, then said:

The plague of gun violence we’re seeing is horrific and I believe we need to use every tool possible to go after the criminals. In the wake of the Newtown shooting–the horrible shooting at that elementary school, which horrified all of us–I joined with Senator Chuck Grassley in drafting legislation that became known as “The Law Enforcement Alternative.” What it did is it targeted bad guys. It targeted felons, it targeted fugitives. Felons and fugitives, for example, who try to illegally buy firearms. And there are tens of thousands of them every year that are caught illegally buying firearms, but right now the Justice Department isn’t prosecuting them.

Salaberrios then clarified his question to say he was talking about gun dealers in the south. He claimed dealers are buying guns and “shipping them” into his community.

Cruz replied:

The way to solve gun violence is to target criminals, not target law-abiding citizens. If you look at the jurisdictions with the worst murder rates, most of them are the ones with the very strictest gun control laws. Because when you put gun control laws in place the criminals don’t hand over their guns, but the law-abiding citizens do and it ends up leaving them more vulnerable.

Cruz added, “I don’t think the answer is stripping people’s rights to defend themselves. Listen, if you’re a single mom living in a tough neighborhood, the Second Amendment protects your right that if someone comes through the window trying to harm your kids you have a right to protect your kids. You have a right to be armed and protect your family.”

Cruz emphasized that the federal government needs to come down on criminals “like a ton of bricks,” but said Democrats do not support that approach because they are obsessed with targeting law-abiding citizens.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.