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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was confronted on Friday by an activist who initially sought a photograph with the Republican lawmaker, before arguing with him about the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde and his support for Second Amendment rights.
Cruz was at a restaurant after speaking at the National Rifle Association (NRA) 2022 annual convention in Houston, Texas, and posed for a photograph with activist Benjamin Hernandez – at which point Hernandez confronted him about his stance on gun rights in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, in which a gunman killed 19 children and two adults.
In the clip, posted by Indivisible Houston, Hernandez then quizzes Cruz on gun control measures — including asking why Cruz does not support further background checks.
“The background checks wouldn’t have stopped the shooter,” Cruz responds. “You know what would have? The bill I introduced…”
Hernandez then interrupts Cruz, getting more and more agitated.
“We can make it harder for people to get guns in this country, sir,” he says. “You know that, but you stand here, you stand at the NRA convention, it is harder when there are more guns to stop gun violence.”
Cruz accused the man of combining “ignorance and hatred.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says in the clip.
Hernandez, who describes himself as a “once undocumented” immigrant and has previously run for Congress, continues to argue with Cruz as security gets involved and tells him to “back up.”
“Why does this keep happening,” Hernandez yells, before accusing Cruz of coming to the convention to “take blood money.”
As he gets more agitated, security starts to move him out of the restaurant, at which point he screams over at Cruz: “Why when 19 children died, that is on your hands…Ted Cruz that is on your hands.”
Hernandez later defended his actions on Twitter.
“I wasn’t going to let that f—er walk into the restaurant where I was having dinner and not have him hear me,” he said. “They can do something, but they just don’t want to. So let’s let them have it.”
It marks the latest instance by left-wing activists confronting or haranguing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who do not agree with them.
Multiple Trump administration officials were confronted at restaurants during the Trump administration. More recently, Democratic Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was punched by activists in a restaurant last year. In October, moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was chased into a bathroom by illegal immigrant activists over her lack of support for amnesty.
Former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer Melissa Byrne was one of those who backed Hernandez’s actions.
“Folks. Birddog ‘em almost everywhere,” she tweeted.
Earlier at the NRA Convention, Cruz called for significantly increased security in schools, including single entrances, armed guards, and more, as he railed against Democrats for pushing gun control. There he also mentioned his legislation that would create a federal task force to go after people who buy guns illegally, and it would ensure all federal felony databases are updated.
Cruz also railed against changes in U.S. culture, including violent media and isolation in “virtual life in the absence of community and faith and love” as fundamental problems that cause shootings like the one in Uvalde.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.