On Tuesday, February 12, career gun control advocate Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) held a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing inappropriately titled, “Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment.” Much of the hearing featured a severe lack of respect for the Second Amendment, though, as the panel was stocked with several gun control supporters and was presumably aimed at invigorating the country’s waning appetite for anti-gun legislation.
The attack on guns began at the outset of the hearing, with Sen. Durbin’s opening remarks. In his statement, Sen. Durbin endorsed all manner of federal gun control proposals, including legislation criminalizing the private sales of firearms, a ban on popular semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and a magazine capacity limit. Showing his disdain for gun ownership, the senator seemed to set gun owners apart from other Americans when he asked rhetorically, “Can we protect a person’s right to own a firearm and still say to the rest of America, we also need to protect your right to life, to peace, to freedom from violence from those same firearms?”
Following Sen. Durbin, the subcommittee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), issued a staunch defense of the Second Amendment, citing Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s remarks that it is the “palladium of liberty.” Sen. Cruz went on to make clear that, in his view, “the divide on this issue is fairly straight forward, the focus of law enforcement should be on criminals… At the same time, I think we should continue to respect and protect the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.”