May 29, 2022
Senator Ted Cruz speaks at 2022 NRA Convention in Houston 5/27/22 Transcript
Senator Ted Cruz speaks at 2022 NRA Convention in Houston 5/27/22. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:03)
I’m sure you’re all familiar with our next speaker. Not yet, but here’s a little known fact that’s worth sharing. One of his first clients as an attorney in the private sector was the National Rifle Association. Right out of the gate, he’s been an ardent defender of the Second Amendment, and he’s never looked back. From his early support of the Heller case to our Supreme Court fight for the right to self-defense outside your home, he’s been alongside us every step of the way, filing briefs and unabashedly taking on the gun control media. Please join me in welcoming one of the most fearless defenders of the Second Amendment from the Lone Star State, Senator Ted Cruz.
Senator Ted Cruz: (01:17)
God bless the great state of Texas. I want to speak today on the nature of evil. We’re gathered today under crushing darkness. On Tuesday, less than 300 miles away, an evil man murdered 19 children and two teachers. Within hours, I was on a plane back to Texas from Washington, and I spent the entire next day in Uvalde. There I sat down with law enforcement, with local officials, and I joined in a community prayer vigil that evening as the entire community was reeling from the shooting. We prayed together and we cried together, mourning the unspeakable losses that have shaken the Uvalde community and that have gripped our entire nation. There are no words to describe a monster who enters a school and murders little children, 19 little kids, 19 families in Uvalde who lost their little boys and their little girls. Two families of teachers who aren’t here with us anymore. None of us will ever truly understand the manifest evil that devastated Uvalde on that day, the entire state, the entire country is horrified and grieving. And it is an evil that has happened too many damn times.
Senator Ted Cruz: (03:25)
In the last several years especially, Texas has repeatedly seen the face of evil, repeatedly. I’ve been on the ground after these tragedies one after another. I was in Dallas in 2016, in Sutherland Springs in 2017, in Santa Fe in 2018, in El Paso and Midland-Odessa in 2019. And now Uvalde. Each time was the picture of horror.
Senator Ted Cruz: (04:04)
If children are the picture of innocence, then the lunatics and the monsters like this one, the one who would deliberately murder children, they are the picture of evil. Many of us in this room are mothers and fathers. What happened in Uvalde is the ultimate nightmare for every parent. The anguish of those families right now is unimaginable. The very worst pain on Earth. All of us in Texas need to come together and comfort those families right now. We need to love them, embrace them, and take care of them.
Senator Ted Cruz: (05:00)
Having visited communities over and over again struck by the darkest evil, there’s another consistent pattern that I’ve seen. Repeatedly, despite the darkness, I’ve seen love and compassion and heroism and strength in these communities. You see heroes, men and women from all walks of life, of every color and creed, pastors and lay people coming together and standing as one, no matter the horror, our state’s response to each act of evil, to each challenge has always been one of unity and strength and resilience. Uvalde is strong, Texas is strong, and the entire country stands alongside the men and women who are grieving in Uvalde today. We will get through this and we will come through this together.
Senator Ted Cruz: (06:09)
At the same time, it is incumbent on us to understand what is behind these evil attacks. When we were growing up, this kind of thing didn’t happen. Kids may have worried about getting into a fist fight at school, maybe a bloody nose at recess, but we never worried about a psychopath coming into our classrooms to commit murder.
Senator Ted Cruz: (06:40)
The elites who dominate our culture, tell us that firearms lie at the root of the problem. By elites, I refer to some of the most powerful politicians and their allies in the media, the leaders of the largest corporations and many of the most famous celebrities and those who echo and amplify them. Their resources are limitless, their megaphone is enormous, and their voice can be deafening. Many of these same people make their accusations from behind great bulwarks of safety, from gated communities equipped with private security or, at the very least, from safe and expensive neighborhoods protected by high home prices and low crime rates. Such people can afford an indulgent ideology that ignores reality. As is so often the case, those furthest from the halls of power are the most dependent on the ability to defend themselves.
Senator Ted Cruz: (07:51)
For millions of Americans, the right to keep and bear arms is not theoretical. It’s not abstract. For a single mom in a dangerous neighborhood, it is a matter of basic security. Taking guns away from these responsible Americans will not make them safer, nor will it make our nation more secure. In an age where elites embrace defunding the police, when homelessness runs rampant, when gangs dominate entire communities, and when radical district attorneys refuse to prosecute violent crime in cities across America, rarely has the Second Amendment been more necessary to secure the rights of our fellow citizens.
Senator Ted Cruz: (08:54)
But many would still tell us that the evil on display in Uvalde or in Buffalo derives from the presence of guns in the hands of ordinary American citizens. It’s far easier to slander one’s political adversaries and to demand that responsible citizens forfeit their constitutional rights than it is to examine the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil. It’s far less comfortable to ask why despair and isolation and violent hatred is so prevalent in America. It requires a sick soul to drive a truck into a crowded sidewalk, to plan a bomb at a marathon, or to fly a plane into a building. It requires a sick soul to open fire in a movie theater or in a church or in a school. A speeding automobile in the hands of a madman is deadly as is a jet airplane.
Senator Ted Cruz: (10:08)
Tragedies like the events of this week are a mirror forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing, looking at broken families, absent fathers, declining church attendance, social media bullying, violent online content, desensitizing the act of murder in video games, chronic isolation, prescription drug, and opioid abuse and their collective effects on the psyche of young Americans is both complicated and multifaceted. It’s a lot easier to moralize about guns and to shriek about those you disagree with politically, but it’s never been about guns.
Senator Ted Cruz: (11:10)
We know that places with some of the most restrictive gun laws, places like Chicago and Baltimore and Washington, D.C., they don’t have less gun violence. Indeed, they contain some of the most dangerous communities on the face of the Earth. We also know that there are communities in places like Texas with extraordinarily high rates of gun ownership and extraordinarily low rates of gun violence. We know that keeping guns away from citizens who follow the law does very little to keep them away from criminals who ignore the law. We know that there are no more guns per capita in this nation today than there were 50 or a hundred years ago.
Senator Ted Cruz: (11:58)
That’s worth underscoring. In 1972, the rate of per capita gun ownership in the United States was 43%. In 2021, the rate is 42%. The rate of gun ownership hasn’t changed. And yet, acts of evil like we saw this week are on the rise. And we have to ask ourselves why. The press will tell us, these horrific crimes occur only in America. That simply isn’t true. The data show, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, quote, “Out of the 101 countries where we have identified mass public shootings occurring, the United States ranked 66 in the per capita frequency of these attacks and 56th in the murder rate.” But to be clear, one is one too many. We know that many of these who seek to commit the most heinous crimes, they’re isolated from human contact. They’re living a virtual life in the absence of community and faith and love.
Senator Ted Cruz: (13:19)
None of that excuses their heinous acts, none of that reduces the evil of their deeds. But these are questions we have to answer if we want to rescue our country. I ask these cultural questions because mere technocratic solutions, the acts of legislators or of government regulators will not alone solve what ails us and those who proclaim that it will are not telling you the truth. They are demagogy for political gain.
Senator Ted Cruz: (13:54)
Now, some may be naive enough to confuse their virtue signaling with real solutions, but most are engaged in the most cynical kind of politics. They say, as President Obama did this week, quote, “It is long past time for action – any kind of action. Do something.” And here, perhaps to the surprise of some, I emphatically agree. There have been two damn many of these killings and we must act decisively to stop them.
Senator Ted Cruz: (14:34)
But what is the something we should do? To Washington Democrats, the answer is so called universal background checks and banning so-called assault rifles, and the more aggressive among them call for banning all firearms. Here’s the problem. Their so-called solutions wouldn’t have stopped these mass murders and they know this.
Senator Ted Cruz: (15:18)
The Uvalde shooter, and I won’t use his name and nor should anyone else, he should fade into eternal anonymity. But that son of a bitch passed a background check. As for so-called assault rifles, which the left in the media love to demonize, these guns were banned for 10 years, from 1994 to 2004. And the Department of Justice examined the effect of the ban and concluded that it had zero to statistically significant effect on violent crime.
Senator Ted Cruz: (16:06)
So, why is it that so many politicians advocate policies that they know won’t work, that won’t stop these horrific crimes? The answer for too many of them is that their real goal is disarming America. They point gleefully to other countries that have disarmed their citizens while overlooking the rise in crime and sexual assaults that has repeatedly followed. If they succeeded, these horrific crimes would not end. Gun bans do not work. Look at Chicago. If they worked, Chicago wouldn’t be the murder hellhole that it has been for far too long. And the reason is simple. The law-abiding citizens follow the law, but the criminals do not. That is why they’re criminals, but let me tell you what would happen if they succeeded in confiscating guns. Many more people would lose their lives.
Senator Ted Cruz: (17:29)
Here’s a statistic from the Obama White House, hardly a right wing source. Guns are used defensively to stop a crime between 500,000 and one million times every single year. That means if the left disarms America, those crimes would no longer be stopped. Many more single moms in subways would be assaulted or raped or murdered, home invasions would turn much more deadly as only the criminals would have guns, and far more children would be murdered. So, does that mean we’re helpless, that there’s nothing we can do to stop these crimes? Absolutely not. Let’s focus on what works, stopping the bad guys, imprisoning violent criminals and protecting our vulnerable.
Senator Ted Cruz: (18:54)
In 2013, I introduced legislation called Grassley-Cruz. It was designed to take the guns out of the hands of felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness. Grassley-Cruz did three things. First, it would mandate that the Department of Justice conduct an audit of federal agencies to make sure that all felony convictions have been reported to the database. Second, Grassley-Cruz would create a gun crime task force at the Department of Justice, specifically to prosecute felons or fugitives who tried to buy firearms illegally. In 2010, there were 48,000 felons and fugitives who tried illegally buy guns. The Obama Department of Justice prosecuted only 44 of them. That is indefensible.
Senator Ted Cruz: (19:54)
Third, Grassley-Cruz would’ve authorized $300 million for school safety improvement grants to harden our schools. When Grassley-Cruz came to the Senate floor for a vote in 2013, 52 senators voted yes, including nine Democrats. It was the most bipartisan piece of comprehensive legislation before the Senate.
Senator Ted Cruz: (20:21)
So, why didn’t Grassley-Cruz pass into law if a majority of the Senate voted for it? Because Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and the Democrats filibustered it. If you want to talk about policy proposals that could have stopped at least some of these mass murders, Grassley-Cruz is a perfect example.
Senator Ted Cruz: (20:46)
Take Sutherland Springs. There, it was already illegal for the shooter to purchase firearms, doubly so, because he was a felon and because he had a domestic violence conviction. So, how did he get his guns? Because the Obama Air Force failed to report his felony conviction to the database. And so he passed the background check. If Grassley-Cruz had passed, if the Democrats hadn’t filibustered it, then the DOJ audit would’ve presumably caught his felony conviction and the gun crimes task force would’ve prosecuted him for the felony of lying on the background check form. That would’ve meant that that monster would’ve been sitting in a federal prison instead of murdering 26 innocent people in that beautiful sanctuary. To this day, I don’t know if any reporter has asked even a single Democrat why they filibustered bipartisan gun violence legislation that could have made a real difference saving lives.
Senator Ted Cruz: (22:00)
So, what about Uvalde? Well, part of Grassley-Cruz was $300 million to upgrade school security because we’ve seen a tragic pattern repeat. When I sat down with the families at Santa Fe, we discussed how that monster had entered through an unlocked back door, how he’d been able to make it to a classroom unimpeded and murder innocent children. We also know that there are best practices at federal buildings and courthouses, where for security reasons, they limit the means of entry to one entrance. Schools likewise should have a single point of entry. Fire exits should only open out. At that single point of entry, we should have multiple armed police officers, or, if need be, military veterans trained to provide security and keep our children safe.
Senator Ted Cruz: (23:29)
Maddeningly, the shooter in Uvalde got in the exact same way the Santa Fe shooter did. He walked through an unlocked back door into an open classroom. We need serious funding to upgrade our schools, to install bulletproof doors and locking classroom doors and to hire law enforcement to protect our most precious asset, our children.
Senator Ted Cruz: (24:17)
Senate Democrats cynically blocked school safety funding in Grassley-Cruz. And they have repeatedly blocked my legislation to allow schools to access $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve school safety. Had Uvalde gotten a grant to upgrade the school security, they might have made changes that could have stopped this shooter and killed him at the single point of entrance with armed law enforcement there on the ground before he hurt any of these innocent kids and teachers.
Senator Ted Cruz: (25:04)
Ultimately, as we all know, what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys like Stephen Willeford, the heroic plumber and NRA rifle instructor who grabbed his AR-15 and ran barefoot to stop the murderer at Sutherland Springs or the border patrol tactical unit who finally killed the Uvalde monster. And that’s why the media’s cynicism and dishonesty on this topic is so pernicious. The media blames you, the millions of members of the NRA for these crimes. That is a lie.
Senator Ted Cruz: (26:16)
Nobody here has committed these kinds of unspeakable crimes. Everybody here is horrified, utterly horrified by these mass murders, but more importantly, it is the law-abiding patriots here, like Steven Willeford, who over and over and over again, step up and risk their lives to stop these depraved lunatics. The media wanted all of us to stay away, but you are not the cause of this evil. Instead, you are fighting to defend the Bill of Rights, to keep people safer in their homes and on the subway to protect our families. You are the veterans, the law enforcement members, the courageous men and women who rise to defend your fellow neighbors.
Senator Ted Cruz: (27:23)
We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens. Now is not the time to yield to panic or intimidation or fear. Now is not the time for lies. It is not the time for empty political gestures. Now is the time for unity. Now is the time for love. And now is the time for action to protect our rights, to stop those with evil in their hearts and to do everything humanly possible to protect our children and to protect our families.
Senator Ted Cruz: (28:07)
God bless you.