SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) cancelled a press conference in Rahway and an appearance at a $2,700 a plate fundraising dinner at Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains on Thursday evening. He instead remained in Washington to vote against legislation that would deny people on a federal terrorism watch list the ability to purchase guns and a measure calling for universal background checks.

In an interview published by conservative news site Breitbart, Cruz stated: "You don’t get rid of the bad guys by getting rid of our guns. You get rid of the bad guys by using our guns. And, rather than respond to radical Islam and terrorism with a commitment from the President to keep this nation safe – to kill the terrorists – instead, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to even utter the words 'radical Islamic terrorism'.”

In response to the shooting in San Bernardino this week, Cruz, among others, has criticized President Obama for failing to comply with a request for immigration records of 72 terrorists found to be in the U.S.

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"This horrific murder underscores that we are at a time of war," Cruz said while addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition on Thursday. "Whether or not the current Administration realizes it or is willing to acknowledge it, our enemies are at war with us."

Cruz was also among a group of senators who wrote a letter to the President yesterday calling upon him  to be "transparent about information pertaining to recent immigrants."

“Farook is the child of immigrants who came to the United States from Pakistan, and Malik [his wife, a native of Pakistan] travelled to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia,” according to the letter.

Cruz has pledged to defend the Second Amendment and argued against gun restrictions. In 2008, he was honored by the NRA for defending gun rights. To read the candidate's 2016 Presidential campaign platform, click here. In the latest CNN poll, Cruz (at 16%) trails only frontrunner Donald Trump (36%) in the race for the Republican nomination.

"In light of recent events, it's appalling that Ted Cruz voted against common sense gun control measures," said Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover. "Imagine having to tell a child that they've lost a parent at this time of year -- or any time, for that matter."

"For good reasons,  the Second Amendment guarantees the right for private citizens to 'bear arms.'  In today's times where with no warning life or death maybe a matter of you against someone who wishes to harm you and your loved ones, the right to bear arms is essential," said Scotch Plains Republican leader Al Smith. 

"The bad guys are going to get the guns, bombs, knives or whatever they want legally or illegally. If all we are doing is making it harder for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves against these threats, we should proceed with caution and understanding."

Smith further pointed out that Cruz was joined by 45 other senators, including five Democrats, in rejecting the proposed additional gun controls judged by these senators to be against the Second Amendment's right for citizens to arm themselves.