While Cruz was dining in a Houston sushi restaurant, Benjamin Hernandez, a member of activist group Indivisible Houston, approached the senator and demanded him to support escalated gun control measures in the wake of the Robb Elementary School massacre on Tuesday that left 22 people, including the shooter, dead.
“Why did you come here to the convention?” Hernandez asked in a video posted by Indivisible Houston on Twitter. “Nineteen children died! Nineteen children died! That’s on your hands! That’s on your hands! Ted Cruz, that’s on your hands!”
Hernandez first posed for a photo with Cruz, and the two were all smiles until he began peppering the senator with questions about gun laws. Cruz told Hernandez there were lots of laws he would support to curb gun violence, but the senator said he takes issue with the one championed by Democrats. Cruz struggled to get a word in edgewise as Hernandez berated him with pointed questions, including his position on strengthened background checks.
“We can make it harder for people to get guns in this country. You know that. You know that, but you stand here. You stand at the NRA convention. It is harder, it is harder when there are more guns to stop gun violence,” Hernandez said.
Cruz argued many of the proposals Hernandez was pitching would not have stopped the shooter and that he has introduced multiple bills to curb violence that have been stalled in the Senate. As Hernandez became more animated in his grilling of Cruz, security pulled him away and shepherded him toward the exit.
Hernandez had attended a rally outside the George R. Brown Convention Center where the NRA forum was held Friday, according to a photo posted on his Twitter feed. The conference is slated to last from Friday to Sunday.
Indivisible Houston describes its principles as “uncompromising resistance to authoritarianism and commitment to civil rights, fundamental institutions, and the American social fabric” on its Facebook page.
Cruz addressed the NRA gathering Friday despite other high-profile figures such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick scrapping plans to attend the conference due to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week. The senator argued attending the convention was important to push back against Democrats as they use another mass shooting to “try to demonize law-abiding gun owners.” He adamantly defended gun rights during his speech.
“We know that many of these who seek to commit the most heinous crimes, they’re isolated from human contact. They’re living a virtual life in the absence of community and faith and love,” Cruz said during his speech Friday. “What stops armed bad guys is armed good guys.”