A proposed assault weapons ban barely cleared a Senate committee today, but not before a heated argument over the Second Amendment.
The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on a strictly party-line vote -- 10-8 -- and rejected a series of Republican amendments, The Associated Press reported.
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The amendments, also struck down on party lines, would have exempted victims of sexual abuse, people living along the Mexican border and others from the proposed ban.
The bill would ban semiautomatic weapons with at least one military feature and limit the size of ammunition clips to 10 rounds, according to the Washington Post.
It faced fierce opposition from Republicans on the committee, includ Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas, who questioned its constitutionality.
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“The question that I would pose to the senior senator from California is would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment?” he asked, according to ABC News.
Feinstein shot back that she wasn't "a sixth grader" and didn't need a lecture on the Constitution.
“Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years," she said. "I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered.”
“I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here,” she said. “It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”
Feinstein later apologized to Cruz, saying he "sort of got my dander up and that happens on occasion."