Cruz May Require Background Check Before Letting Supporter Shoot With Him

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June 6, 2015 10:11 a.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) plans to take one lucky supporter with him on an upcoming “shooting excursion” as part of a recently launched fundraiser and sweepstakes for his presidential campaign. But there’s a catch: the winner may have to endure a background check first.

The caveat is an interesting one given that Cruz helped lead the effort to defeat a 2013 bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales nationwide. The bill, which was championed by President Obama in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, ultimately went down after an intense lobbying effort from pro-gun groups.

In an interview with TPM on Friday afternoon, Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler defended the contest’s background check requirement and said it was “not inconsistent” with the senator’s track record.

Tyler said Cruz had not taken issue with current system of background checks, but specifically opposed the 2013 bill, which would have imposed them on sales between private individuals.

Still, the background check for the contest may come as a surprise to some of Cruz’s supporters.

It didn’t appear on the entry page for the “Shoot With Cruz” contest when TPM viewed it on Friday or in an email about the contest that the campaign sent to supporters this week. (Sign up before June 10!)

It did appear, however, deep in the fine print for the contest, which was located on a separate page on the site. The same page defined the “sponsor” of the contest as “Cruz For President.”

Promotion Rules. One (1) potential winner will be selected by a random drawing from all eligible entries to be held at the Cruz for President headquarters on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Sponsor may, at its option, conduct a background check on each potential winner. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any potential winner from receiving the Prize based on such background check if Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion that awarding the Prize to such potential winner could result in a safety or security risk to any person or persons or could result in the disruption of any event associated with the Promotion. Sponsor will, in its sole discretion, then select one (1) winner from the list of eligible potential winners on the basis of criteria determined and applied by Sponsor to provide for an appropriate range of views, backgrounds, and interests among the winners selected.

Although Cruz has used the contest as a fundraiser for low-dollar donors, the rules made clear no donation was required to enter. But they also said the campaign has no plans to pay the full fare for the winner.

“Winner will be responsible for securing all required licenses and for costs of transportation to attend the shooting excursion,” the rules said, “including, but not limited to ground transportation, airfare, personal charges at lodging, telecommunications charges, security fees, taxes, or other expenses or incidentals are the responsibility solely of the winner.”

Cruz’s spokesman said the fine print regarding background checks was written so the contest would abide by the law.

“The language in the contest rules is written to be in compliance of various state laws, because some states would require background checks on a contest like this,” Tyler said.

However, he added, he could not specify which laws, as they were not in front of him.

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