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Cruz: Democrats 'take advantage' of Newtown for gun agenda

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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday that Democrats are trying to use the massacre of children and teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to pass laws that trample on Second Amendment gun rights.

“We should be devoting our time, and our energy, and our resources to deterring and punishing violent criminals, and we should not be restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Mr. Cruz said during a radio interview with WBAP News in Texas. “Unfortunately, you have a lot of Democratic politicians in Washington who have been trying to take advantage of this horrific tragedy that happened in Sandy Hook and are using it to push an agenda that doesn’t target violent criminals, but that goes after the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Second Amendment and Gun Control

The freshman lawmaker and tea party star took particular aim at the Democratic push for universal background checks on Capitol Hill, which could be among the legislative proposals that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, brings up for a vote when lawmakers return to Washington next week from their Easter break.

“They want to have the government regulate every private transaction between private individuals,” Mr. Cruz said.

Mr. Cruz argued that would force two friends to go first to the federal government and get a background check before one could sell the other a gun. And he said the Department of Justice has said that would require the federal government to create a federal registry that lists every firearm of every person living in the United States.

“I think a federal gun registry raises grave Second Amendment issues because, historically and globally, over and over again, gun registries have been the predicate for [the] taxation and the confiscation of firearms,” Mr. Cruz said.

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