With gun-control measures at the center of a debate in Austin and Washington, D.C., another Texas Republican is sounding off about mandatory background check proposals.

At a breakfast event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was asked to provide his perspective on a measure being pushed by Democrats in Washington and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The proposal would include mandating federal background checks on private sales of firearms between two consenting individuals whom the law would consider “strangers.”

Cruz was asked to respond to the concept in a manner that mentioned Patrick by name.

“The consistent focus of Democrats in Congress is precisely the proposal that you laid out,” Cruz said of the Patrick proposal. “It is mandating that all private person-to-person sales have a federal background check.”

“If you mandate every private person-to-person sale has to be subject to a background check, the immediate next question is how do you implement it; and the only way to implement that is with a federal gun registry,” Cruz added, further noting a national registry of firearms and firearm owners is “the objective of many of the congressional Democrats.”

Cruz declined to explicitly attack Patrick for his support of the proposal.

“Dan Patrick is a good man,” Cruz said. “I have every confidence the legislature in Texas will debate and consider these issues. Thankfully, I serve in a different lunatic asylum.”

In recent weeks, Patrick has found himself on a bit of an island over the proposal as grassroots citizens, local gun-rights advocacy organizations, and even the NRA have lambasted him for kowtowing to Democrats.

Patrick has acknowledged as much but thus far remains committed to the proposal, saying he was “willing to take an arrow” on the issue.

Cruz’s statements against Patrick’s position come on the heels of the National Rifle Association taking a hard, even combative, stance on the proposal twice in the last week alone. Those statements join those of more conservative Second Amendment advocates like Gun Owners of America and Texas Gun Rights in doing so.

Meanwhile, other Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have been mostly quiet. The governor convened a series of “roundtable discussions,” where some have argued gun-control advocates have a majority presence at the table, but Abbott has not made any policy commitments yet.

Then again, he has also refused to rule anything out.

Abbott’s website, as pointed out by former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, still has him chalked up as being opposed to the idea from when it was first pushed by the Obama administration in 2013.

The White House is reportedly considering a broad range of measures this week, including that very proposal. What was then championed by U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), and is now being spearheaded by Patrick, would expand background checks in a manner precisely as the legislation Abbott advocated against six years ago.

Cruz had a stark warning with White House implications on that, as well.

“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” said Cruz. “We’re going to see record-shattering Democratic turnout. The only element missing to ensure Democratic victory is demoralizing conservatives, so they stay home.”

“I hope we don’t do that,” Cruz concluded. “I think that would be a serious mistake.”

Destin Sensky

Destin Sensky serves as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard covering the Texas Legislature, working to bring Texans the honest and accurate coverage they need to hold their elected officials in Austin accountable.