Texas, the Second Amendment bastion of sport shooters, concealed carriers and Stand-Your-Grounders, also favors a ban on assault weapons by a surprising margin -- 49 percent to 41 percent, according to Public Policy Polling.
Texans oppose arming school teachers (56 percent to 31 percent), but also strongly favor putting cops in every school (47 percent to 39 percent). Clearly, the citizens of the Lone Star State hold nuanced views on the role guns should and should not play in public life. And that's more than we can say for our legislators. Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz has vowed to oppose any and all restrictions on firearms, including the Bushmaster .223, a popular sporting rifle recently used to slaughter little children in Newtown, Connecticut.
During this week's hearing, at which a maimed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords pleaded haltingly for political courage, Cruz brought a pistol grip, which he held up to a photo of a common hunting rifle to illustrate his argument that a proposed assault weapons ban would discriminate based on the cosmetics of the gun and not, say, high-capacity mags that allow the shooter to pump round after round, in rapid succession, into .... deer, of course. Because the Framers, in an era of swords and flintlocks, clearly intended to enshrine every citizen's right to bear weapons with the capacity for massacre, Cruz takes any restriction as a frontal assault on the Second Amendment.
Our Sen. Cornyn (who, by the way, received only 34 percent approval rating in the poll) won't support any restrictions, either, nor will just about every Republican U.S. House member from Texas. That indicates that there is a huge disconnect between the way Texans actually feel about gun control and the way their elected representatives legislate on their behalf. Cruz seems convinced otherwise, believing an assault weapons ban runs so contrary to the will of the public that it will cost Democrats the Senate.
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But when a state as pro-gun as Texas supports such a prohibition by a comfortable margin, you gotta wonder: Is this majority silent, or is he just not listening?