Video: Dianne Feinstein not happy with Ted Cruz’s question on the Second Amendment

posted at 1:21 pm on March 14, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Weekly Standard, this is worth watching less for the nuts and bolts of the constitutional dialogue than as evidence of how far Cruz has already gotten under Senate Democrats’ skin. Doesn’t take much here for Feinstein to get awfully defensive about how long she’s been in the Senate, how many bodies she’s seen, how she respects the Constitution but etc etc etc. You’d think that, as an anti-gun warrior of long standing, she’d be armed by now with rote rebuttals to the sort of basic Second Amendment question that Cruz is posing. Nope: She falls back on prudential arguments about how she’s only banning a few types of weapons, how Americans don’t need bazookas, and so forth. Finally Leahy and Durbin back her up with the obvious reply, that the First Amendment isn’t absolute (defamation, incitements to riot, and child porn can all be regulated), in which case why should the Second Amendment be? They might also have noted that the text of the Second Amendment, unlike the First or Fourth, begins with a caveat that specifically imagines some sort of regulation. And Cruz, as a former state solicitor general, was surely expecting all that. I wonder where he was headed with this line of questioning if it hadn’t been cut off. Either he was just trying to put Feinstein on the spot or, maybe, he was angling to get one of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to defend their position with an attack-ad-worthy soundbite about how there are limits to constitutional rights. It’s Durbin, I believe, who finally obliges him.

Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban passed the Committee 10-8 today on a party-line vote, but don’t get caught up in that. Reid will be lucky to break 50 votes for cloture in the full Senate. The bill to worry about if you’re a supporter of gun rights is Schumer’s new bill, which purports merely to expand background checks to private sales but actually ends up doing much more. Read Charles Cooke’s summary of it at NRO. Criminal “transfer” of a weapon doesn’t just mean transferring title, via a sale; it also apparently means transferring possession, even for a brief amount of time.

Update: Some commenters are grumbling that I’ve misunderstood what “well-regulated” means in the Second Amendment. I’m not giving you my understanding, though; I’m telling you how Democrats might have responded to Cruz. They’re not originalists. They might seize on the word “regulated” and use that as a pretext for legislation. Although, in fairness to them, their anti-2A arguments typically focus more on the meaning of the word “militia” than on “regulated.”


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listens2glenn on March 15, 2013 at 2:00 AM

NeverLiberal on March 15, 2013 at 1:10 AM

.
That wouldn’t be the first time I disagreed with Alexander Hamilton, but suit yourself.

listens2glenn on March 15, 2013 at 2:08 AM

DiFi looks like a zombie.

rdbrewer on March 15, 2013 at 2:18 AM

Whatever these people think is appropriate to give people in libya and syria to fight off the tyranny of their governments should be in our right to bear arms.
They trust the muslim brotherhood with f-16s in egypt, but we can have ten bullets.

Mormontheman on March 15, 2013 at 2:40 AM

When the Constitution was written, “regulated” meant practiced or rehearsed and “militia” meant every able bodied man who owned a rifle. It still does.

subsonic on March 15, 2013 at 3:56 AM

Not to sidetrack the issue, but, did she actually say that “Sandy Hook youngsters were dismembered”‘?
How is that even possible with the types of rounds & weapons that the shooter was reported to have used in the shooting?

kregg on March 15, 2013 at 5:39 AM

Pretty funny listening to the senior Senator sputtering her nonsensical, disjointed reponse, like John McCain but without all the flowery rhetoric. Vote for idiots and you get idiotic moments like this.

Jaibones on March 15, 2013 at 6:50 AM

“I’m not a sixth-grader.”

Sixth Graders Lets see now, which one in the class photo served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, and J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Hmmm…… Oh that’s right he wasn’t even born yet.

Bmore on March 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM

“Ive been here over 20 years..” Maybe thats why the country is in such bad shape!

Bevan on March 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Say, Sen. Di-Fi, since Harvey Milk is one of those casualties you talked about, then why aren’t revolvers on your list? They have been weapons of war and the Brits still used revolvers as late as WWII as part of their military inventory for sidearms. That is one of those horrific weapons you mentioned, isn’t it? You know, the police issued revolver? Remember that? It is one of your top beefs should be about the killing of the guy that prompted you to get a CCW permit… so where are the revolvers, Di-Fi?

They have been weapons of war, and are still reliable as side-arms… Heck Gen. Patton used one as a side-arm and you can’t get more military than that guy… they were standard issue to officers in the US military up to 1911 and revolvers have been involved in bloody, horrific shoot-outs way before Harvey Milk and with higher body counts, to boot. Isn’t the revolver one of those strange ‘military weapons’ that you are going on about? If not, why not? Ever seen someone practiced with half-moon clips using a revolver? Really, aren’t revolvers just as horrible as anything on your list? So where is your logic, Di-Fi? Military weapons capable of mass carnage left off your list, but commonly owned and used arms with millions of owners and a miniscule rate of use in crimes are on it? What’s up with you, Di-Fi? Didn’t you complete the 6th grade?

ajacksonian on March 15, 2013 at 7:35 AM

She had no answer but for the indignation because no one has ever questioned her before. How dare he!
If we aren’t a well regulated militia that’s the fault of our govt not doing their da#m job. We’re here, willing and waiting.

Kissmygrits on March 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM

That twisted witch Feinstein is such a horror show. Cruz asks her a simple question, and she calls it a lecture. Then, with the wart on her nose held high, she starts telling everybody about her great intellect, vast years of experience, and how she’s a tough veteran of countless tragedies.

JackM on March 15, 2013 at 8:39 AM

I think I will have to disagree with you on this one. “Well-regulated” in this sense does indeed include well disciplined and well trained as Alexander Hamilton made clear in Federalist #29:

What Hamilton made clear, was his opinion.

JackM on March 15, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Heller:

Held:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a miltia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

JackM on March 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

“I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution.”

Well, of course she has. I mean, I’m sure she gets to within a foot or so of it every time she craps on it…

Dopenstrange on March 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

I just wonder, if in light of his comments that Schumer is now going to give up his kid porn collection?

Kjeil on March 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Feinstein to Cruz: “I come from a different place than you” (when describing the reasons for her views on guns).

Exactly. So why not keep her laws for her state, not the entire country?

On a separate note, how laughable is the constant heat on Cruz over the fact that he’s now, from Dems and people like McCain. The “I’ve been here for a while” argument just doesn’t fly.

eski502 on March 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM

This whole line of questioning, while amusing (Thank God I’m in Texas) is a complete farce.

One more time, for the sixth graders in the Senate: Murder happens to be banned right now. People engage in it anyway. Making it illegal to own any sort of weapon doesn’t change that, and it never will.

I can’t believe we are paying these idiots to debate this issue.

Spark Chaser on March 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

20 yrs, is one day too long, Madame.

ninjacoastie on March 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM

As Hilliary would say “What does it matter”! The Democrats could care less about individual rights!! It’s all about big government. What a pathic display of “feelings” over the individual right for an American to bear arms! Democrats oath to protect the Constitution is a joke to them.

karlinsync on March 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Feinstein laid out the Democrats world view for all to see. They want to pass anything and everything and then let the courts decide if it’s constitutional. They do not feel legislators need to live up to their oath to support and defend the Constitution.

ButterflyDragon on March 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

When the Constitution was written, “regulated” meant practiced or rehearsed and “militia” meant every able bodied man who owned a rifle. It still does.

subsonic on March 15, 2013 at 3:56 AM

Exactly. Your kid’s karate class is “well regulated.” A cheerleading squad is “well regulated.” A shooting competition at the gun club is “well regulated.” In none of these cases does that mean “run by the government.”

CurtZHP on March 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

From my recollection, “militia” is not the same as a standing army. I believe the founders advocated for militias over the concept of a standing army. Isn’t militia based on the notion of the citizen-soldier with the emphasis on citizen?

You historians, am I anywhere near the truth?

In my opinion, gun ownership should be more widespread in the US, not less.

freedomfirst on March 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Ok.
I came to this party way too late.

freedomfirst on March 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

From my recollection, “militia” is not the same as a standing army. I believe the founders advocated for militias over the concept of a standing army. Isn’t militia based on the notion of the citizen-soldier with the emphasis on citizen?

You historians, am I anywhere near the truth?

In my opinion, gun ownership should be more widespread in the US, not less.

freedomfirst on March 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

A militia is to the standing army what a posse is to the sheriff.

Private citizens with their own weapons and training defending their own turf as needed.

CurtZHP on March 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

The resume ploy… Read that instead of answering the question… and hope one of your buddies comes up with a line a defense and whispers it in your ear ASAP.

RalphyBoy on March 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Feinstein must still think she’s working for the San Francisco D.A.’s office, terrorising a cowed and servile San Franciscan public with arbitrary procecutorial discretion, where none are brave enough to tell her no.

papertiger on March 15, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Wyatt Earp is Diane Feinstein’s idea of a perfect law man.

papertiger on March 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Wyatt Earp is Diane Feinstein’s idea of a perfect law man.

papertiger on March 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

I doubt it. Wyatt Earp was a Republican.

CurtZHP on March 15, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Wyatt Earp was a Republican.

Horseshit.

papertiger on March 15, 2013 at 4:29 PM

“Dianne” –”I’m not a sixth grader you know.”

“Ted” — “Well hon you need to be.”

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Wyatt Earp is Diane Feinstein’s idea of a perfect law man.

papertiger on March 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

.
You’ve got to expound on that.

What exactly was it about Wyatt Earp, that met the criteria for Diane Feinstein’s “perfect lawman”?

listens2glenn on March 15, 2013 at 6:59 PM

In my opinion, gun ownership should be more widespread in the US, not less.

freedomfirst on March 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

..with the attempted usurpation that President Hiney Pants and his Democratic Law Posse are attempting, it will.

The War Planner on March 15, 2013 at 7:02 PM

And just to imagine that the only reason we even have to endure this dumb (maybe) 4th grader is because her boss and underling were shot, and this then typist, err, glorified secretary, inherited mayoral duties. And she’s got the gall to tell us about her “experience” with “these guns”, as she put it, when actual killings were done with a frigging REVOLVER.

So, not only was she admitting to not knowing the Constitution, or her oath to defend it, but then she LIED on top of that when claiming the killings were done with semi-auto weapon. In a SENATE hearing.

Isn’t this an impeachable offense?

riddick on March 15, 2013 at 7:58 PM

20 yrs, is one day too long, Madame.

ninjacoastie on March 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Sorry to disagree, 20 years too long, IMO.

riddick on March 15, 2013 at 8:03 PM

That wouldn’t be the first time I disagreed with Alexander Hamilton, but suit yourself.

listens2glenn on March 15, 2013 at 2:08 AM

It is not a matter of whether you agree with the sentiment or not, his contention was that the founding fathers believed the 2nd amendment was necessary to protect individual citizens from militias. However, quite the opposite was the case because they believed well-disciplined militias was the key to their defence.

They believed the dangers lied in federally mandated standing armies in times of peace, as well as undisciplined militias because they would be unable to defend the people. The national army was to be called forth from the militias that existed among the states when war was evident. The precedent for the language in the 2nd amendment came from a resolution introduced by Patrick Henry on the day of his famous ‘give me liberty or give me death’ speech.

“A well regulated militia, composed of gentlemen and yeomen, is the natural strength and only security of a free government; that such a militia in this colony would forever render it unnecessary for the mother country to keep among us, for the purpose of our defence, any standing army of mercenary forces, always subversive of the quiet, and dangerous to the liberties, of the people, and would obviate the pretext of taxing us for their support.”

NeverLiberal on March 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

The Court has already ruled — repeatedly that there is a right to keep and bear arms which exists outside of the need for a well-regulated militia.

This is like beating a dead horse.

unclesmrgol on March 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM

It was [is] necessarily the role of the State and Fed to organize and train the “well regulated militia.” Battlefield maneuvers and military organization require a organizing authority and that was the role of the state. That said, the Founders passionately desired that every citizen have, and be familiar with arms and that they should never be removed from their possession:

“Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective way to enslave them.” – James Madison
“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“To disarm the people… was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” ~ George Mason, speech of June 14, 1788
“The great object is, that every man be armed. [...] Every one who is able may have a gun.” ~ Patrick Henry, speech of June 14 1788
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic.” – Joseph Story
“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” ~ Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” – James Madison

“The Constitution shall never be construed… to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” — Samuel Adams

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” – James Madison

“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” – Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 25, 1778
“Men trained in arms from their infancy, and animated by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap or easy conquest.” ~ From the Declaration of the Continental Congress, July 1775.
“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves … and include all men capable of bearing arms.” ~ Senator Richard Henry Lee, 1788, on “militia” in the 2nd Amendment
“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” ~ Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer XVIII
“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.” ~ Constitutional scholar Joseph Story, 1840
“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that his people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to Col. William S. Smith, 1787
“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves … and include … all men capable of bearing arms. … The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle.” ~ Richard Lee (1787)
“If I were to select a jack-booted group of fascists who are perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick BATF [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms].” ~ U.S. Representative John Dingell, 1980
“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. … The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.” – James Madison (Federalist No. 46)
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
“The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals… It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.” ~ Albert Gallatin, Oct 7 1789.
“Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never be deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state.” – Noah Webser
“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.” ~ Attributed to Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)
“[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” ~ Tench Coxe (political economist and a delegate for Pennsylvania the Continental Congress in 1788-1789)
“That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United states who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms…” ~ Samuel Adams, in “Phila. Independent Gazetteer”, August 20, 1789
“[The disarming of citizens] has a double effect, it palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of physical forces totally destroys the moral [force]; and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression.” ~ Joel Barlow, “Advice to the Privileged Orders”, 1792-93
“The danger (where there is any) from armed citizens, is only to the *government*, not to *society*; and as long as they have nothing to revenge in the government (which they cannot have while it is in their own hands) there are many advantages in their being accustomed to the use of arms, and no possible disadvantage.” ~ Joel Barlow, “Advice to the Privileged Orders”, 1792-93
“A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” ~ John Stuart Mill, writing on the U.S. Civil War in 1862
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” – Justice Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)
“As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives [only] moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion to your walks.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, writing to his teenaged nephew.
“No free government was ever founded or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defence of the state…. Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” ~ Josiah Quincy, Jr., Thoughts on Standing Armies, 1774.
“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. [...] the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.” ~ Hubert H. Humphrey, 1960
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book, 1774-1776

“[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, — who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.” – George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778
“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.” ~ Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson’s Commonplace book
“Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence be the *real* object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” ~ Patrick Henry, speech of June 9 1788

GodogGo on March 15, 2013 at 11:54 PM

The Court has already ruled — repeatedly that there is a right to keep and bear arms which exists outside of the need for a well-regulated militia.

This is like beating a dead horse.

unclesmrgol on March 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Who was arguing that your only allowed to have guns if you are part of a militia?

NeverLiberal on March 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Wow, Diannie Demmie sure has a buttload of experience…the kind that has run the Golden State right into the ground.

What a clown. Next.

Christien on March 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Cruz basically reminded Leahy of Cheney’s DIY instruction.

Christien on March 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

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