Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday called the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control "ridiculous theater" and said Democrats want to take away citizens' guns as part of their "political objective."
"Every time there's a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where the committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders," said Cruz, the day after 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store.
Cruz's remarks came after Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Republicans didn't offer any solutions to the problems of gun violence.
"And yet, thoughts and prayers is all we've heard from my colleagues from the other side, thoughts and prayers must lead to action," the Connecticut Democrat said.
Cruz said in response to Blumenthal's comments: "Senator Grassley and I together introduced legislation 'Grassley-Cruz' targeted at violent criminals, targeted at felons, targeted at fugitives, targeted at those with serious mental disease to stop them from getting firearms to put them in prison when they try to illegally buy guns
"What happens in this country after every mass shooting is Democrats proposed taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that's their political objective."
Cruz argued that gun control legislation proposed by Congress does not reduce crime but makes it worse. The Texas lawmaker also said that if he and Grassley proposed Gun Crimes Task Force, then gun violence would be reduced.
Others in the Senate disagreed with Cruz. California Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein argued that policing wasn't enough to curb gun violence. She argued that it was assault-style weapons that were the main problem.
"In 1994, I introduced a Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which President Clinton signed into law, Feinstein said. "A 2016 study showed that compared with the 10 year period before the ban was enacted, the number of gun massacres between 94 and 2004 fell by 37%, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43%."
Feinstein pointed out that she sponsored a bill, hoping to introduce a new assault weapons ban, arguing that a ban on those types of weapons would help reduce gun violence.
The hearing – titled: Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence – was announced a week ago by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the same day as the mass shooting which killed eight people in Atlanta, Georgia.
The hearing follows the Democrat-controlled House earlier this month passing two gun-control measures, including one that attempts to expand background checks for people trying to buy or transfer a firearm, according to USA Today.