A ban on the sale and manufacture of “more than 150 types of ‘semi-automatic weapons’ with ‘military-style features’” cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday; but not without a bit of fireworks between bill sponsor Dianne Feinstein of California and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. After discussing the “Right of the People” language included in the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, Cruz asked Feinstein if Congress had the power to take action limiting the Rights spelled out in the First and Fourth Amendments in the same manner her bill aims to limit the Second Amendment.
Senator Feinstein was neither amused nor persuaded by the argument made by the “former Constitutional Law professor.”
Feinstein continued: “It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture. … I come from a different place than you do. I respect your views. I ask you to respect my views.”
The panel approved the bill on a party line vote, 10 – 8. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, where it is widely expected to fail.
Committee Democrats first beat back four amendments offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would have carved out exceptions to the ban. Cornyn asked for exceptions for victims of domestic violence, military veterans and those living on Southwest border states that he said were affected by Mexican gang violence.