“These things are not going to stop, members. They’re just not,” Feinstein told her colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. “I’ve sat here for a quarter of a century listening, they don’t stop. And if you give people the ability to easily purchase a weapon that can be devastating to large numbers of people, some of them will use that.”
But the debate during the hearing included few signs that mass shootings in the past week would do much to shake years of partisan stalemate over the broader bills to address the complicated causes of gun violence in the United States — such as Feinstein’s bill to reinstate an assault weapons ban that has 35 cosponsors, all part of the Democratic caucus.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said it is time for Congress to act because he’s been to “too damn many of these” mass shooting scenes in his state, such as the 2016 ambush that left five police officers shot dead, the 2017 shooting deaths of 26 people at a church in Southerland Springs, the 2018 shooting deaths of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School, and the 2019 killing of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso.
Yet Cruz and other Republicans said the Democratic-backed measures, such as a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun sales, don’t address the problem and only seek to disarm law-abiding citizens who have a constitutional right to own a weapon for self-defense.