Republican Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, rankled the nerves of Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday during a contentious hearing on legislation, introduced by the California Democrat, that would reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons.
Cruz, a former constitutional law professor, began by reciting portions of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, and asked Feinstein whether the power of government to restrict certain types of guns would be equally appropriate given those provisions.
"Let me just make a couple of points in response," Feinstein shot back at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "One, I'm not a sixth grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, 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've been up -- I'm not a lawyer, but after 20 years I've 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."
Feinstein continued: "It's fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I've been here for a long time. I've passed on a number of bills. I've studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture. ... I come from a different place than you do. I respect your views. I ask you to respect my views."
The panel approved the bill on a party line vote, 10 - 8. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, where it is widely expected to fail.
After the vote, Feinstein made nice.
"Senator, I want to apologize to you, you sort of got my dander up," she said.