MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough tore into Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for claiming on Thursday, during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that a ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional, calling the argument ignorant and asking if the Harvard-educated lawmaker is illiterate.
Cruz made the comments moments before the Senate committee advanced Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) proposed ban on military-style weapons to the full Senate and rudely lectured Feinstein on Second Amendment jurisprudence, likening restrictions on guns to censoring books under the First Amendment.
On Friday, the Morning Joe host explained that Cruz’s argument misinterpreted “what the Second Amendment says and what Scalia, Thomas, and the conservative court said in 2008 about what the Second Amendment is and what it is not”:
SCARBOROUGH: Did they teach Ted Cruz to read what the Supreme Court said? Especially in the landmark, the landmark decision regarding Second Amendment rights over 200 years was written in 2008? I’m just wondering why would he use his seat on the Judiciary Committee if he went to Harvard to — to — to put forward a willfully ignorant statement about this bill violating the Second Amendment, because it does not. And Ted Cruz knows it does not. So who is he playing for? Is he playing for — for — for people who can’t read, for illiterates? I don’t understand…. When you’re condescending and you don’t even have the facts right. When you’re misstating what the Second Amendment says as interpreted by the conservative court, by Scalia. I have a problem with that.
Indeed, to quote Justice Scalia’s decision in the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The ruling also allows limitations on ownership of “dangerous and unusual” weapons that are not in “common use” — like, for example, assault weapons.