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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz condemned the bipartisan gun control legislation soon coming to a vote, calling on the U.S. Senate to instead consider legislation he crafted with Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso that he said targets criminals instead of every gun owner.

To-date, the Democrat-led gun control legislation has enough GOP support to break a 60-vote filibuster threshold, as it is supported by several top Republicans including John Cornyn of Texas, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Todd Young of Indiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore-Capito of West Virginia and Mitt Romney of Utah.

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who previously worked across the aisle with Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia on joint-namesake reform, was not present for the motion-to-proceed but said in a statement he believes the bill at hand protects the Second Amendment while making “significant progress” on keeping guns from criminals.

On Fox News, Cruz said the Safer Communities Act is “misguided” and condemned its red-flag-law provisions – referring to policies that allow civilians to “red flag” their fellow gun-owning citizens to law enforcement to adjudicate whether they should continue to be able to bear arms.

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Republicans supporting the bipartisan gun control bill.
(Fox)

“The approach of the Democrats is to try to take away firearms from law-abiding citizens, to try to go after the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz said, as the pending legislation provides grant money to states as encouragement to pass red-flag laws.

He suggested such red-flag provisions may not respect Fourth Amendment rights:

“Those red-flag laws provide an opportunity to disarm law-abiding citizens in many states with a very low standard of proof, with little to no due process protections.”

Barasso, R-WY.

Barasso, R-WY.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Instead, Cruz called on senators to support the “Safe Kids Safe Schools Safe Communities Act” – which he said is focused on the criminal element rather than the weapon used.

“It’s focused on funding prosecutors that if you commit a violent crime with a gun, you’re going to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice and sent to federal prison. If you try to illegally buy a gun, if you’re a felon or fugitive, if you try to legally buy a gun, you’re going to be prosecuted and sent to federal prison,” he said. 

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“This bill provides $36 billion for funding over ten years for police officers, armed police officers in schools. It doubles the number of police officers in schools. It provides $10 billion in funding for mental health counselors. So if you have a kid that has serious mental health issues, you stop him early before he commits the crime.

Adjudicating mental fitness in this way is much more constructive than red-flag provisions, he said, adding that his bill doesn’t “infringe on the Second Amendment” as he suggested the former does.

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