Cruz blames Dems for politicizing shootings

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed Trump renews call to end filibuster amid immigration furor MORE (R-Texas) accused Democrats on Thursday of seizing on mass shootings to push a political agenda, saying that calling for increased gun control after such tragedies is "not the right answer."

"The reaction of Democrats to any tragedy is to try to politicize it," Cruz said on "Fox & Friends." "So they immediately start calling that we've got to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. That's not the right answer."

The Texas Republican recalled travelling to Sutherland Springs, Texas, after a deadly mass shooting at a church there last year.

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"When I was at the hospital with the victims, with the victims' families, over and over again what they said to me in Texas – they said gun control is not the answer here," Cruz said.

Cruz's comments came a day after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people. 

The shooter was arrested Wednesday and identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. He was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder. 

The shooting reignited calls from some lawmakers and advocates for tighter gun control laws. 

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) urged members of Congress on Wednesday to "find the courage" to pass legislation addressing gun violence. Giffords emerged as an outspoken advocate for tighter gun control laws after she was shot and critically injured in 2011. 

"Even in our grief, we must summon the courage to fight against this fear. We must find the courage to imagine a country where these massacres do not occur," she wrote on Twitter. "Our leaders must find the courage to escape the confines of their politics & pursue the moral necessity of peace & safety."

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonWe’re causing right whale extinction — but we can reverse course As we honor our fallen Americans, we should revive national service Democrats must vote for electable candidates to win big in November MORE (D-Mass.) also demanded on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE "get off his ass" and work with lawmakers to pass gun control legislation. 

"I invite him to get off his ass and join me in trying to do something about it," Moulton tweeted, referring to Trump.