Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., surprised the head of Homeland Security on Wednesday when, after a tough exchange over Second Amendment rights, he gave him a pat on the shoulder and a firm handshake on his way out.
Kennedy questioned Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing about his support for an assault weapons ban, a day after he had quizzed him on the same subject and had been unsatisfied with his answers.
Mayorkas again backed an assault weapons ban and deferred to the definition previously in legislation banning such weapons in the 1990s — but he did not provide one of his own.
“Senator, I must defer to the experts with respect to the definition. But I will tell you, for example, military–style weapons are a tremendous concern. We are seeing too much devastation,” he said, speaking just days after a school shooting in Nashville, Tenn.
Kennedy was unhappy with the answer.
“You made a very bold statement very firmly saying we should ban all assault weapons. And all I’m asking is what in your mind is an assault weapon? You say it’s military style. Does that mean it looks like a military weapon?” he said.
Mayorkas was done however: “Senator, I think I have addressed your question to the best of my abilities.”
But Kennedy continued.
“But you haven’t. I’m trying to understand. You’re secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and, as is your right as an American, you believe we should ban assault weapons. But it bothers me you can’t tell me what you would ban,” he said.
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