Sen. Ted Cruz at a pheasant hunt in Akron, Iowa on Oct. 26, 2013.
Photo by Nati Harnik/AP

A twist in the ‘Shoot with Cruz’ sweepstakes

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recently launched a “Shoot with Cruz” fundraiser to support his campaign for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination, but full details may not be entirely clear to contestants hoping to win an “excursion” with the presidential hopeful.

Sweepstakes contestants can submit entries online before the June 10 deadline, make a “generous Shoot with Ted contribution of $35, $50, $100 or more” to Cruz’s campaign and then await word of the winner – one who will, according to Cruz’s email to campaign supporters, help “reignite the promise of America and bring true, conservative leadership to the White House.”

But there’s a curious twist to the sweepstakes that may not be obvious to contest entrants: before accompanying Cruz on the shooting adventure, the winner could be required to undergo a background check.

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The sweepstakes requirement may catch winners off-guard, since Cruz has ardently fought against gun control, most notably in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012. Cruz and fellow senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s efforts to mandate background checks prior to gun purchases, and Cruz promised to “use any procedural means necessary to protect those fundamental rights.” 

“… I fought back, ready to shut down the Senate to stop any legislation undermining the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote in email to supporters, adding that his commitment to the right to bear arms is evident in his “tooth and nail” fight to stave off expanded gun regulations.

But despite leading the effort to block senate legislation to expand gun control in 2013, it appears that Cruz isn’t up for taking any chances with his own safety. 

On the “Shoot with Cruz Sweepstakes” entry page, there is no mention of background checks for contest participants. However, Talking Points Memo pointed out that a disclaimer is buried in fine print of the contest rules“Sponsor may, at its option, conduct a background check on each potential winner,” reads the disclaimer, adding that a winner can be disqualified if considered “a safety or security risk.”

Cruz spokesperson Rick Tyler told Talking Points Memo that a potential background check was included in the contest rules for legal reasons: “The language in the contest rules is written to be in compliance of various state laws, because some states would require background checks on a contest like this.” 

“Our right to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny – for the protection of liberty. When elected President – I will ensure your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not infringed upon,” states Cruz’s email to campaign supporters. “Sign up for an opportunity to join me for an afternoon of shooting.”

Gun Policy and Ted Cruz

A twist in the 'Shoot with Cruz' sweepstakes