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‘Nineteen children died! That’s on your hands!’: Ted Cruz confronted after NRA convention over gun reform

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US Senator Ted Cruz was confronted over gun reform after the NRA meeting following the Uvalde school shooting.

Benjamin Hernandez of Indivisible Houston, a “nonpartisan, progressive group”, posed for a picture with Mr Cruz at a restaurant before engaging the Texas Republican.

As the conversation grew heated, Mr Hernandez asked “what about background checks?”

Mr Cruz argued that legislation introduced by Democrats wouldn’t have stopped the Uvalde gunman, who killed 21 people – 19 children and two teachers – on 24 May.

The Texan instead pushed his own legislation. Mr Cruz introduced the School Security Enhancement Act last year intended “to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen school security”.

Follow the latest updates on the Uvalde mass shooting

As Mr Cruz tried to end the argument, Mr Hernandez said “it’s harder with more guns to stop gun violence”.

“You combine ignorance and hatred – you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mr Cruz said.

“Why does this keep happening?” Mr Hernandez asked as security staff started to remove him from the restaurant. “Why did you come to this convention, to take blood money?”

“Nineteen children died! That’s on your hands! Ted Cruz, that’s on your hands!” Mr Hernandez yelled as he was pulled away.

Two days after the shooting, on 26 May, Mr Cruz said on Fox News, “In 2013, I introduced legislation called Grassley-Cruz which targeted felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness. It directed the Department of Justice to do an audit of federal convictions to make sure felons are in the database. It directed the Department of Justice to prosecute and put in jail felons and fugitives who try to illegally buy firearms.

“In the Harry Reid Democrat(ic) Senate, a majority of the Senate voted in favour of Grassley-Cruz, but the Democrats filibustered it. They demanded 60 votes. They defeated it because they wanted to go after law-abiding citizens instead of stopping the bad guys.”

According to PolitiFact, Mr Cruz “is wrong to suggest that only Democrats were to blame for the amendment’s failure. Cruz’s statement leaves out his own party’s use of the very same tool — the 60-vote requirement to break a filibuster — in order to block other measures that were able to secure majority support in the chamber”.

“An important point Cruz leaves out is that every Republican accepted Reid’s ground rules,” the fact checker site added.

In areas where there are more guns, there are also more gun deaths – both on the state and national levels.

“It is true for homicides, suicides, mass shootings and even police shootings,” The New York Times reported on 26 May.

More restrictions on access to guns seem to lead to fewer deaths related to gun violence, both domestically and internationally, while more flexible legislation has been connected to more gun deaths.

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