Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reaffirmed his defense of the Second Amendment Friday at a Johnston, Iowa, shooting range, despite speculation he would cancel the event due to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, two days earlier.
Cruz was at CrossRoads Shooting Sports Friday afternoon to introduce his new “Second Amendment Coalition.” Instead, the coalition became an afterthought, meriting just a footnote at the end of a half-hour speech that lambasted Democrats, the media and political correctness.
“Every day, the policies of the left are getting nuttier and nuttier and nuttier,” Cruz said. “This is not the realm of ordinary and reasonable discourse. When you say the Islamic State isn’t Islamic, that’s not reason or rationality. That is propaganda.”
Defending his decision
The event took place two days after a shooting in San Bernardino killed 14 and injured even more. Pundits speculated Cruz might cancel the event out of respect for the victims. Instead, Cruz said it was more important than ever to defend the Second Amendment and made a point of defending his decision during his speech.
“Folks in the media, at the behest of Democrats, ask, ‘Isn’t it insensitive for us to do a Second Amendment rally following this terror attack?’” Cruz said. “Let me tell you something. I really don’t view our job as being sensitive to Islamic terrorists.”
This isn’t the first time Cruz has held an event in support of the Second Amendment in the wake of a mass shooting. In June, Cruz held another event at CrossRoads, where he similarly rallied against stricter gun control regulations.
Cruz said Friday that he believes that many of the recent mass shootings that have occurred throughout the country could have been prevented if the victims had had guns.
Sgt. Patrick Perkins — president of Heroes Hunting and a member of Cruz’s new coalition — went so far as to say that he hoped the rally would become a target of another mass shooting because it would be “the biggest mistake (a terrorist) could make.”
Cruz made his plan to reduce those mass shootings abundantly clear.
“You don’t stop bad guys by taking away our guns; you stop bad guys by using our guns.”
Not content to simply defend the Second Amendment, Cruz went on the offensive, attacking what he considered the “political correctness” displayed by liberals and the media.
“We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as the president is unwilling to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’” Cruz said.
His attacks drew some of the biggest applause of the afternoon. Cruz had near-unanimous support in the room, with constant flows of “yeses” and “rights” yielding an atmosphere that was not unlike a congregation listening to a charismatic preacher.
Whether because of the recent shooting or for some other reason, more people turned out to the Cruz event than organizers anticipated. The event was held in a conference room at CrossRoads, with dozens of chairs set up for audience members. Those chairs were filled 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time, and there was soon not even space to stand in the back of the room. An overflow area had to be set up. Over 100 people, many wearing stickers bearing Cruz’s logo, heard Cruz speak.
“There’s a lot of things I liked in his speech. I was amen-ing all over the place,” said Judy Kirby, who regularly comes to CrossRoads. “All the issues that he’s supporting are what matter to me. … His issues are my issues.”
Kirby supported Cruz’s decision to hold the event in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre.
“We need to realize that we need to protect ourselves,” Kirby said. “I know a lot of people here that are awesome people that carry firearms—my husband does—wonderful people who wouldn’t hurt anybody. But if people could protect themselves, these bullies and these murderers and these terrorists would think twice.
“The guns aren’t the thing that we should be afraid of. It’s political correctness,” Kirby said.
The audience was diverse in age, made up of supporters both young and old. Some parents brought children, if they were not yet old enough to instead be in school. Several high school and college-aged students also turned out, like Noah De Kruif, who just turned 18 and is trying to figure out which Republican to support in the upcoming caucuses.
“I really liked (Cruz’s speech),” De Kruif said. “I can really get behind him. Anyone who can stand up for the Constitution as their core principle — I fully support that.”
Cruz left no doubt as to where he stood on the raging gun control debate and the Second Amendment.
“We need to target the bad guys,” Cruz said. “But on the flip side, what keeps us safe? What keeps us safe is that we are free people who have the God-given right to protect our homes, our families and our lives.”