“Mr. Secretary, yesterday you testified in judiciary that you support an assault weapon ban and we didn’t have much time to talk about that. Tell me your definition — once more — of an assault weapon,” Sen. Kennedy asked.
You’d think that someone who wants to ban a particular type of weapon would have a clear idea of what that type is, but Mayorkas proved otherwise.
“I am not an expert, with respect to the definition of the assault bans, and so I defer to—” Mayorkas began.
“You are the Secretary of Homeland Security,” Sen. Kennedy interjected, indicating that he should have a better understanding.
“As I was about to say, I defer to the experts. I defer to, for example, the definition of an assault weapon that was codified in the prior iteration of the legislation that was passed and that was in operation when I served as an assistant United States attorney and the United States Attorney in the Central District,” Mayorkas replied.
When asked if he supported the prior definition, Mayorkas replied that he deferred “to the experts with respect to the definition,” but said that he considered “military-style weapons” to be of great concern.
Sen. Kennedy then pressed him for an explanation of what he meant by “military-style weapon”, but Mayorkas did not provide a clear answer. Instead, he referred to the recent Nashville school shooting and called for legislative action.
“I will say this: when we see the tragedy in Nashville, and it is not the first such tragedy that we see, when I engage with my international counterparts,” Mayorkas said. “And they ask me, almost invariably first, what is going on with all the mass killings in the United States? And why are these assault weapons disseminated so broadly, I say that we need legislation.”
Sen. Kennedy summarised the interaction by stating, “So you support an assault weapon ban, but you don’t have a definition. Is that right?”
Despite his evasive answers, Mayorkas continued to call for a ban on “assault weapons”.
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