POSTED: Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 3:37pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 3:48pm
There were contentious moments on Thursday during a Senate meeting on a bill to ban assault-style weapons.
The exchange happened between California's Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee session, Cruz, who opposes any weapons ban, questioned the constitutionality of the bill, which is sponsored by Feinstein.
The bill eventually cleared the committee on a party-line 10-8 vote.
It now heads to the full senate, where it is likley to be defeated.
Here is a portion of their exchange:
CRUZ: Would she consider it constitutional to specify that the first amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress deemed outside the protection of the bill of rights. Likewise, would she think the fourth amendment's protection against search and seizures could properly apply only apply to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the bill or rights?
FEINSTEIN: Let me just make a couple of points in response. One, Im not a sixth grader. Senator, I have been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in and I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I've seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I'm not a lawyer but after 20 years I have been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn't mean that weapons of war, and the Heller decision, clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. It's fine that you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I have been here for a long time. I have passed on a number of bills. I've studied the Constitution myself. I'm reasonably well educated and i thank you for the lecture. Incidentally, you use the word prohibit. It exempts 2271 weapons. Isn't that enough for the people in the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high power weapons that military people use to kill in close combat? I don't think so. So I come from a different place then you do. I respect your views. I ask you to respect my views.
CRUZ: Mr. Chairman, I would ask another question of the senior senator from California. I don't think anyone doubts her sincerity or passion. Yet at the same time I would note that she choose not to answer the question that I asked. Which is, in her judgment would it be consistent with the Constitution for Congress to specify which books are permitted and which books are not? And to use.....
FEINSTEIN: The answer is obvious. No.