On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz delivered remarks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “ghost guns,” a phrase used to describe homemade firearms.

“Last Friday, the Biden administration published proposed regulations to significantly expand the regulation of firearms in this country. That proposed regulation and this hearing both focus on so-called ‘ghost guns.’ It’s a name that is intended to scare people. It’s designed to make people think that certain firearms are more dangerous than others, that certain firearms are beyond the reach of current law,” said Cruz.

Cruz addressed the misconception that homemade firearms are somehow different or more dangerous than any other firearm, stating that “under the law, [if] the person commits a crime with a homemade gun, they will be prosecuted just the same as anyone else.”

“If we want to have a hearing on gun violence, there are real topics to discuss. Gun violence and violent crime is a real problem in this country. It’s not the made-up problem of ‘ghost guns.’ But in 2020, gun violence soared to rates not seen in 20 years, with over 19,000 people killed by homicides and unintentional death, not including suicides.”

A report from the U.S Department of Justice found that 6 percent of violent criminals stole their firearms, 43 percent received their firearms from underground markets, 25 percent obtained them from another individual, and 7 percent purchased their firearm legally. 

Zero criminals said their firearms were homemade, or “ghost guns.”

Ted Cruz also cited a TIME magazine report showing that gun violence in Chicago jumped more than 50 percent in 2020, and homicides rose by 55 percent compared to 2019. The murder rate in 2020 was 37.3 percent higher in New York and 37.5 percent higher in Philadelphia, when comparing to 2019. 

Cruz noted, “These cities, of course, all have things in common. They’re all run entirely by Democrats, they all have strict gun control measures that criminals don’t follow. Law-abiding citizens are disarmed, the criminals are not, and the deaths follow accordingly. They’re also all epicenters of the Democrats’ radical push to defund the police.”

Regarding past legislation targeting violent criminals rather than law-abiding Americans, Cruz encouraged Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.) to join Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa) and himself in the Grassley-Cruz legislation that was introduced nine years ago, which focused on finding violent criminals, improving background checks, improving the database, and prosecuting criminals who lie and attempt to illegally purchase a firearm.

The vote on Grassley-Cruz came in a Democrat Senate in 2013, the year when the proposal first appeared on the Senate floor; it received 52 votes, nine of which were from Democrats. The bill had received the most bipartisan support of any comprehensive legislation. However, it failed after Democrat senators, including all three senators present at the committee hearing, voted against it and filibustered it, blocking legislation to combat violent crime.

“Why? Because the objective instead is to target law-abiding citizens. That does nothing to stop crime, but it does a great deal to undermine our constitutional rights,” said Cruz.