Cruz blames Dems for politicizing shootings

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cruz: Hearing from witnesses could extend Senate trial to up to 8 weeks Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial 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 MoultonOvernight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Congress reacts to US assassination of Iranian general Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Mass.) also demanded on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' 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.