Joe Scarborough smacks down Ted Cruz's condescending AR-15 defense: 'I don’t need you to lecture me'
Sen. Ted Cruz, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough (MSNBC)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tried to throw up a smokescreen on gun violence, but MSNBC's Joe Scarborough refused to let him wriggle off the hook.

The Texas Republican insisted the AR-15 military-style rifles used in so many mass shootings, including the Parkland, Florida, massacre last month, were essentially no different from deer rifles -- and the "Morning Joe" host pounced.

"Your argument here is that deer rifles are just as lethal?" Scarborough said. "If somebody takes a deer rifle into a high school in Parkland, that deer rifle is going to be as lethal as an AR-15?"

Cruz then waved the Second Amendment and retreated into the minutiae of firearm mechanisms, as gun advocates often do whenever their legality is questioned -- but Scarborough tried to pin him down.

"But you know, though, every American doesn't have a constitutional Second Amendment right to carry an AR-15 -- yes or no?" Scarborough said.

Cruz refused to debate the point, saying that was for the courts to decide, and lectured his fellow attorney on constitutional law.

"Senator, there are a lot of lawyers rolling their eyes at what you're saying," Scarborough said. "This percolation has been going on for 10 years."

Cruz said his legal career was built on arguing before the Supreme Court, and he recognized that Scarborough had not, and the former congressman cut him off.

"I don't need you to lecture me on what the Supreme Court does and what it doesn't do," Scarborough said. "If the Supreme Court denies cert time and time again, and they have since 2010, and they've allowed Connecticut's laws to stand in place that actually ban assault-style weapons. The court is sitting back and allowing that to stay in place, and allowing that -- that is constitutional right now. There is not a constitutional right, and you know it. You can talk down to me all you want to, but you know there is no constitutional (right to own assault-style weapons)."

Cruz argued the court recognized AR-15 ownership as constitutional because they were one of the most popular weapons in the U.S., but Scarborough said the Supreme Court hadn't agreed to hear any challenges to them being banned.

"You are talking about what you want the law to be, I'm talking about what the law is," Scarborough said. "I give you credit for swatting away legal reality."