WASHINGTON (News Release) - In the wake of two prominent U.S. senators from both parties announcing a compromise that would subject more firearms purchases to federal background checks Wednesday morning, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, voiced his opposition to the proposed legislation on the Laura Ingraham radio show.
"We should vigorously protect the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights, and this is really what this fight is about," Cruz said on the radio show.
Cruz, who is one of 13 U.S. senators that has threatened to filibuster the proposed legislation, told Ingraham that an effort is underway "to pass laws to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens."
Cruz told Ingraham the proposed legislation raises "very serious constitutional concerns," adding it is "not consistent with the Second Amendment."
"The Senator remains opposed to increasing background checks," Sean Rushton, Cruz's communications director, said. "It can only be implemented, according to the Dept of Justice, through a national gun registry, which he believes is inconsistent with the Second Amendment."
Over the course of the past few days, family members of some of the children killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012, have been lobbying members of the U.S. Congress to pass tougher gun control laws, according to the Associated Press.
President Barack Obama flew many of the family members aboard Air Force One recently. Monday night, he spoke at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut about what he said was the pressing need to enact stricter gun control laws, according to the Associated Press. The White House Press Office released a full transcript of the speech.
"Here's what we've got to do," Obama said in the speech. "We have to tell Congress it's time to require a background check for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that people who are dangerous to themselves and others cannot get their hands on a gun. Let's make that happen."
Later in his speech, Obama again urged Congress to "restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines."
Obama also referenced a letter signed by Cruz and 12 other senators that threatened to filibuster if the legislation is brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote.
"And yet, some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms," Obama said in his speech. "Think about that. They're not just saying they'll vote 'no' on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they'll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions."
During his interview on the Laura Ingraham show, Cruz responded to critics, who have said the measure should be put to a vote.
"Critics say we need to have a debate and need to have a vote," Cruz said. "We are debating. We will vote. The question is the threshold. When it comes to our Second Amendment rights we should have a 60-vote threshold."
Later in the interview, Cruz said, "The president has shown he is willing to demagogue an issue, and I think it will backfire."
Cruz said that the focus in preventing future tragedies like Sandy Hook should be preventing criminals from obtaining guns. He said in 2010, the Justice Department only prosecuted 44 of 15,700 of fugitives and felons who tried to purchase a firearm illegally.
The two U.S. lawmakers that reached the compromise were senators. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) according to the Associated Press. They said their deal would help keep firearms from criminals and the mentally ill.
"The agreement between two of the most conservative members of each party was expected to make it even likelier that the Senate's initial vote Thursday to begin debating gun legislation will succeed, despite an effort by conservatives to block consideration of the measure," an Associated Press story stated.