Elected to the United States Senate in 2012, Ted Cruz currently represents the Great State of Texas. While one can never fully believe a politician unless their lips aren’t moving, Cruz is arguably the most pro-gun rights Republican presidential candidate we’ve looked at thus far in this series (read our articles on Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson to get perspective on some of the others).

Let’s take a look at the details—then you can make your own decision.

What he says

When it comes to official and written policy statements, Cruz is direct about his positions on gun rights. He’s even published a dedicated Second Amendment flyer with which he highlights his positions. Leading off that piece is a quote from Tim Macy, Chairman of Gun Owners of America (GOA).

“Gun Owners of America is proud to endorse Senator Ted Cruz for the office of President of the United States. Cruz has been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights as a U.S. Senator, and he will continue to defend our gun rights from the Oval Office.”

As GOA has a pretty solid “no compromise” approach when it comes to the defense of gun rights, this is a ringing endorsement.

He also had a pivotal role in the critically important District of Columbia v. Heller case, submitting a pro-Second Amendment amicus brief on behalf of 31 different states in favor of the Heller argument. To be fair, he’s taken some heat over some of the specific content of that brief. Without getting entirely into the deep end of the pool, some arguments therein stated that states would and should have regulation rights on certain types of weapons like the bans then in place in states like New York, California, and Connecticut. Since that time, his public position has been the opposite. Why? Most observers believe that he was making arguments on behalf of his clients (31 states) to serve the best overall interest of that specific case. When speaking personally, he’s not limited to the “speaking on behalf of clients” issue. Legal and political issues are never cut and dry.

Regardless, the NRA seemed happy about his role in Heller. Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President, also makes an appearance in Cruz’s campaign materials. “Ted Cruz is one of our nation’s leading defenders of the Second Amendment. For over a decade, Ted has fought tirelessly to defend our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and his leadership was absolutely critical to our major victories before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Later, in September 2013, Cruz joined 49 other Senators and authored a letter to President Obama indicating some serious displeasure with his stated plans to move toward the adoption of a treaty with the United Nations seeking to bind the United States to international gun control efforts. No matter that only the Senate has the authority to authorize treaties and that the proposed terms were in direct violation to the Constitution of the United States.

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our concern and regret at your decision to sign the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. For the following reasons, we cannot give our advice and consent to this treaty:

The treaty violates a 2009 red line laid down by your own administration: “the rule of consensus decision-making.” In April 2013, after the treaty failed to achieve consensus, it was adopted by majority vote in the UN General Assembly.

The treaty allows amendments by a 3/4 majority vote. When amended, it will become a source of political and legal pressure on the US to comply in practice with amendments it was unwilling to accept.

The treaty includes only a weak, non-binding reference to the lawful ownership and use of firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. It encourages governments to collect the identities of individual end users of imported firearms at the national level, which would constitute the core of a national gun registry.

The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is “ambiguous.” By becoming party to the treaty, the US would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear.

The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They will steadily subject the US to the influence of internationally-defined norms, a process that would impinge on our national sovereignty.

The treaty criteria as established could hinder the US in fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as Taiwan and Israel.

We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the US does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations. As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the US as bound to uphold its object and purpose.

Earlier this month, Cruz voted “nay” against two Senate bills regarding expanded background checks and closing the “terrorist loophole.” In neither case did Cruz have to step far out of the mainstream. Launched by Senators Manchin, Kirk, and Toomey. The bill would have required background checks and waiting periods on “gun show” sales and was largely symbolic. This is really an issue over the legality of the private sale of property and criminals don’t acquire guns at gun shows anyway. The second was the “no fly, no gun” effort launched by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Intended to deny gun rights to anyone the government decides to put on a secret “suspect” list, this bill angered plenty on both sides of the issue for its flagrant disregard of that pesky little gem we call due process. It’s not often that the NRA and ACLU get upset about the exact same thing. If something like this ever passes on any topic, guns or otherwise, hold on to your shorts and hope that your preferred party stays in charge, else you might find yourself on a secret list.

How he’s voted

Having been in the Senate a few years, Cruz has not only voted, but sponsored his own bills on the topic, so let’s take a look at those first.

In March 2013, he introduced S 729 and S 730, both of which were related to investigation and prosecution of felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms through straw purchases and black market activity. Senators Cruz and Grassley also teamed up to reduce restrictions and interstate transfer and sale of firearms. This bill also would have allowed military members to purchase firearms in states where they are stationed, regardless of their state of permanent residence.

The rest of 2013 was a busy year for Candidate Ted. He also was the second to jump on board Senator Rand Paul’s plan to filibuster gun control efforts launched by Harry Reid. “We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO. The filibuster team ultimately grew to 12 Senators.

Our best guess

Cruz has always been up front and vocal about his support of all constitutional issues, and when you boil out all the rhetoric and hand-wringing, gun rights are, in fact, a pure constitutional discussion. In my view, that adds some backbone to his subject matter talk when it comes to guns, at least more than the other political lemmings that make vague statements like “Sure, I support the Second Amendment…”

He talks the talk, but do you think he walks the walk?

What say you? And don’t forget to check out the other articles in this series on Marco RubioDonald Trump, and Ben Carson.

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.

Featured image created using Ted Cruz image by Gage Skidmore on the Wikimedia Commons and gun shop wall image from Michael Saechang on flickr

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28 thoughts on “Is Ted Cruz Really Pro-gun?

  1. The Bill of Rights is unchangeable as most who read here know. I like Trump, but when it comes to the Bill of Rights, Cruz is the only one who I believe actually understands that it is unchangeable. We all need to get behind someone soon or “they” will pick for us. Trump is popular, but he will not win the WH. Cruz can actually win and is a Constitutionalist through and through.

  2. Anyone who has followed Cruz’ career must realize that he is one of the biggest AH’s and jerks to ever make it to Washington! If you cannot realize this you need a brain transplant. He’s even worse than Trump, and that is saying a lot. In fact NO politician can ever be trusted, but these creeps are destroying the Republican party, which as Bobby Jindal has said has become the “party of stupid”.

    1. so you like Jindal? I live in Louisiana and made the mistake of voting for him once. He is a good talker, but cant lead a horse to water. He did a few good things, but overall he has done more harm than good here. He and Vitter are the reason that we ended up with edwards this time.
      Who would you like to see as president? Hopefully not the same ole’ same ole’ we always get from the Rs. The republican party has destroyed itself by caving in to everything the left has asked them for. It is definitely time for a change in the right. We cant do another neocon presidency.

    2. Tom, it’s you who needs the brain transplant. Thank goodness Cruz is a man of principals and if YOU can’t see that then there is no hope for you.

  3. I have something against Cruz and I have reached out directly to him and his campaign on the issue with no response.
    Shortly after the NYS S.A.F.E. Act was passed he keynoted a fundraiser for the NYS Senate Republicans. It was these same Republicans, headed by the soon to be imprisoned Dean Skelos, that enabled the UnSAFE Act to become law. Perhaps all the Cruz bots will explain away his action as “speaking on behalf of clients” but I don’t buy it. What if NYS government was dominated by Fascists Skinheads instead of Totalitarian Gun-grabbers and it passed legislation infringing upon 14th Amendment rights instead of 2nd Amendment rights? Would Cruz still cop out because he was “speaking on behalf of clients”? I doubt it.

  4. I never said that I liked Jindal, I was merely quoting him. Since I imagine that this thread is in the main Republican, I would guess that few would agree with my presidential pick. I once was a conservative Republican, but no longer am since the party went insane. I now consider it a threat to our Republic. But maybe not for long since it is destroying itself. After watching the fake “debates” and its line up of clowns, it certainly deserves to fail.

  5. Ted has consistently supported the Constitution and the Second Amendment particularly and is firmly behind it. He has proven he will fight the fights that need to be fought regardless of the appeared win ability or not; this shows character/honor. He has shown that resistance to tyrannies is not limited to the Liberals as he will fight even his own party members if the cause is just which in this day and age is extraordinary to say the least. He has proven the PACs cannot buy his vote either; just ask the Koch brothers and others.

    I like Trump’s rhetoric but his trustworthiness is questionable at best. His history is too Liberal and does not encourage any more confidence than what you might get from a used car salesman. I want more than that from a POTUS as morals and reasonable predictability to some degree do count in politics. Not to mention I shudder at the possibility of Trump in
    charge of our nuclear arsenal.

    Rubio is a PAC RINO prostitute and is so deep in Soros and big money’s pocket he is unelectable by any sane realistic measure. It saddens me greatly that he has infected Trey Gowdy with his sickness of greed and ruined a once good man and champion of free people everywhere.

    Carson seems like a great guy and I love his calm and kind demeanor but his lack of experience in many areas makes him unsuitable as POTUS. If he wants to be seriously considered he needs to run for a lesser house and show what he can do. He then could be very electable and show what he is made of; then make a serious run for the White House.

    All the others are also PAC money RINOS as well and have no chance at the nomination. That is why they are in the poll positions they are in. Various news outlets are trying to push Rubio and Bush but there is nothing there; it is just a waste of resources.

  6. He’s not only the brightest, he’s the most qualified. Here’s a partial bio:

    Grandfather born in Canary Islands, in Spain
    Father born in Cuba
    Mother born in Wilmington, Delaware, three quarters Irish and one quarter Italian
    Parents n the oil business, owners of seismic-data processing firm for oil drilling
    Two older half-sisters from his father’s previous marriage, Miriam and Roxana
    Miriam had several brushes with the law, died of a prescription drug overdose
    Roxana has declined media interviews and is a physician in Texas

    Graduated from Princeton University in 1992
    Graduated cum laude, Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy
    Won top speaker award at the U.S. National Debating Championship
    Won top speaker award at the North American Debating Championship
    Princeton’s debate team named their annual novice championship after Cruz
    Senior thesis on separation of powers: “Clipping the Wings of Angels”

    Graduated Harvard Law School in 1995, magna cum laude
    A primary editor of the Harvard Law Review
    Executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
    Founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review
    Professor Alan Dershowitz said, “Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant”
    A John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics

    Law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
    Law clerk to William Rehnquist, first Hispanic to clerk for a US Chief Justice
    Authored 70 Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments

    Solicitor General of Texas, longest serving in Texas history
    Argued before the Supreme Court nine times, winning five
    Currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Texas Review of Law and Politics
    Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission
    Associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice
    Domestic policy advisor to the 2000 presidential campaign
    Adjunct professor of law, UT School of Law, taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation

    Chairs Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Activities
    Chairs the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
    Vice-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee

  7. The better question is: is he really a natural born citizen? Has anyone seen his US-issued birth certificate? Not the Canadian one.

      1. Yeah, we all know that story but children born abroad to US parents also get birth certificates when their birth is recorded with a consulate or an embassy unless there is an eligibility issue. If he was a natural-born citizen then he should not have a problem to receive a birth certificate issued by the US government, should he?

      2. No they do not receive US birth certificates. I’m American and my kids were born in Canada. They only received US passports and Social Security cards, no US birth certificates.

  8. From the land of the free to the land of the ignorant. From open carry to wacky text books,Texas is proving it’s self to be the
    not just the 2nd most populous U S State but number one in gun toting
    ignorance and unfounded paranoiac hysteria. Look where really dumb
    ideas and the NRA has the most influence, the decades long sub-grade
    educational system States.of the Confederacy and Red States. No wonder
    the Republican’s want to dissolve the Department of Education, they
    don’t need no troublesome educated eggheads, common sense, science, or
    unvarnished accurate history textbooks.

      1. For us that come from somewhere were you can actually hunt and grew up with gun’s it’s humorous listening and talking to the 80% or 90% of NRA members that hunt less than 1 time a year, or never, almost never practice, and know less of hunting and shooting than they do about nuclear physics, but do watch a lot of shoot’em up TV and movies. Not only are they scared paranoids but more scary to think they are the majority of NRA gun buyers and toter’s.

      2. Then there are those that are educated in outdoor sports and partake in it regularly. Thise folks wont be interviewd. It doesn’t go along with the anti gun types pushing their agenda.The majority of liberal news outlets focus on the paranoid hill billys and the latest tradgedy shooting to prove their case. The media turns a blind eye to self preservation and a realistic view of true sportsmen and women. The NRA does alot of good with gun safety, law enforcement training and civilian marksmanship programs. Like any form of recreation, people need to be safe and responsible. But, the antigun crowd rather get on its band wagon of tunnel vision. They have no interest in the actual truth.

      3. The over whelming number of people in the U S live in cities and the number of hunters is and has been on the decline for decade. Now most people with guns are shoot’em up TV and movies handgun owners. They think they are going to protect their family with a handgun when in fact they, nor anyone else in an actual gun fight, can hit the side of a barn with a handgun, and the bullets are more likely to go through the walls and kill one of their family or a neighbor than an intruder. If these ninnies want to protect their home get a short barreled low kick 20 gauge shotgun with #2 shot to #1 buckshot and actually hit something. We hunt with a 3 round limit for birds or a 4 round centerfire for larger game and varmints. There is absolutely no sporting reason to have 20 or 30 round clips.

      4. The term is magazine, clips are an interchangeable word of the same spring loaded bullet carriers. It is outdated terminology from the 50’s. I agree with everything you stated except, your last sentence. There is a need for high capacity magazines. The first reason is, criminals can use them. Why limit the law abiding citizen. Secondly, the government uses them. Not that any one of us has a fighting chance against tyranny but, why limit us peasents. Third, if I
        want to unleash a 30, 50, 75, or 200 round magazine at the range, I should have that right.

      5. How many citizens have used high capacity magazines to stop anything except delusions, let alone a criminal, NONE. You want one and it’s your right? You can’t have a machine gun, sawed off shot gun, drive 120 mph, drive drunk, get over what you want you’re not a small spoiled child. And the governments after you? See a psychiatrist.

      6. I didn’t say they needed to stop anything with them. I’m just saying the right should be ours to choose. The government continues to over step its boundaries. Soon we’ll be like England again. Just because theres laws against it, doesn’t mean people won’t own sawed off shotguns, drive 120mph or drive drunk. How many people continue to speed and drive drunk on a daily basis? Yet liberials aren’t on they’re band wagons demanding prohibition and vehicles only made to max out at 65mph. You need the psychiatrist for thinking everyone who wants to defend themselves with a firearm isn’t educated in gun safety and watch too many violent movies. You have a narrow mind just like your point of view.

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