Senate Judiciary Committee member, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas uses a life size photo of a Remington 750, a popular hunting rifle, to make a point about the proposed ban on certain kinds of guns, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on what lawmakers should do to curb gun violence on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rubio, Cruz pledge to oppose, filibuster gun control legislation

Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are threatening to use the practice of filibustering – talking for hours on the Senate floor so that a bill either gets delayed or never gets a chance to be voted on – to state their opposition to bringing a gun control legislation bill to a vote.

“We the undersigned intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” said a letter signed by Senators Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Lee and Inhofe.

In his website, Senator Rubio  issued a statement  explaining his opposition.

“We should look for ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill prone to misusing them, but I oppose legislation that will be used as a vehicle to impose new Second Amendment restrictions on responsible, law-abiding gun owners,” said the Florida Republican Senator. “We should work to reduce tragic acts of violence by addressing violence at its source, including untreated mental illness, the lack of adequate information-sharing on mental health issues, and the breakdown of the family,” Rubio added.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said in his statement, “It is saddening to see the president today, once again, try to take advantage of this tragic murder to promote an agenda that will do nothing to stop violent crime, but will undermine the constitutional rights of all law-abiding Americans.”

Both Senators’ insistence on the unconstitutionality of laws to delay or restrict gun purchases is not a view shared by the majority of Latino voters, as seen in a recent Latino Decisions poll.

“What we have is data that shows Latinos are in favor of much of the recently proposed gun control legislation introduced by Democrats,” says political scientist Adrian Pantoja. And unlike the general electorate, where views on gun control differ along party lines, these views are shared by the majority of Republican, Independent and Latino voters. “These legislators opposing legislation are out of step with the position the majority of Latinos hold on this issue.”

Background checks, for example, have the support of 86 percent of Latino Democrats, 84 percent of Latino Independents and 80 percent of Republican Latinos. Support for a national gun owner database has the support of 74 percent of Hispanic Democrats, 65 percent of Latino Republicans and 60 percent of Hispanic Independents.

“In the United States, a child or teen is killed by a firearm every three hours, and every 14 hours one of those youth is Latino,” said National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) president and CEO Janet Murguía shortly after President Obama called for legislative action following the Newtown school massacre.

RELATED: Obama unveils national gun control proposals 

While the American public was supportive of gun control legislation following Newtown, the latest CBS News poll shows the support has cooled off, from 57 percent support for legislation following Newtown to 47 percent.

The issue is different with Hispanic voters, says Pantoja.

“For many Latinos living in urban or economically depressed areas, they see the reality of gun violence on a daily basis.  It’s not cyclical,” says Pantoja.  “This issue is not going to go away, and I foresee policy proposals as well as well as greater restrictions in the future.  This issue resonates with Latino voters.”

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