For Joe Scarborough, the truth is a hard pill to swallow.
The host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” debated with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the Wednesday edition of his program, arguing that the constitution does not protect Americans’ right to “assault-style” firearms and even telling the Senator not to “lecture” him about the Supreme Court.
“You know better than anyone what the Second Amendment says,” Scarborough pressed, and brought up Cruz’s role as a litigator representing 31 states in the landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller.
In that case, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to own a firearm unrelated to service in a militia or home defense, and that Washington, D.C.’s restrictive gun ban law was unconstitutional.
“And so you know that, at least where it stands right now, Scalia said that the Second Amendment means that people have a right to keep and bear arms in their homes,” Scarborough continued.
“They have a right to have handguns in their home. They have a right to have shotguns in their home.”
“He didn’t just say in their home, by the way,” Cruz interjected. “The ‘home’ is not a qualifier.”
Scarborough went on to argue that the Supreme Court “time and time again” has placed limitations on “assault-style” weapons and firearm carry.
Cruz contended that the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller did not have to do with “assault weapons.”
“Heller was about a semiautomatic handgun, which the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment protected and the District of Columbia couldn’t ban,” he said.
“But you know, though, that every American doesn’t have a constitutional Second Amendment right to carry an AR-15?” Scarborough countered.
Cruz said the courts will ultimately assess the issue. When Scarborough suggested that they have, Cruz responded:
“No, they haven’t. That’s not what a denial of certainty is. The court often, on an area of constitutional litigation, will let the Federal Courts of Appeals, they call it ‘percolating.'”
Scarborough claimed lawyers are “rolling their eyes” at Cruz’s arguments because “this percolation has been going on for ten years.”
“That’s not unusual,” said Cruz. “And remember, my career was litigating before the Supreme Court, so actually this is not an uncommon thing. I recognize that’s not what you do, but–”
“I don’t need you lecture me on what the Supreme Court does and what it doesn’t do,” the “Morning Joe” host cut in, before arguing that the Supreme Court’s inaction on Connecticut’s assault weapons ban is evidence that the Constitution does not protect ownership of AR-15-style rifles.
“There is not a constitutional right–and you know it. And you can talk down to me all you want to, but you know there is not a constitutional right.”
Lawmakers have debated gun control in the wake of last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. A gunman with a semiautomatic rifle shot and killed 14 students and three teachers.