AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
I’ve been pretty open about the idea of the Senate not hearing gun bills, the House passing them to grandstand, and having nothing come of it.
However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently made some comments that can remind us all not to be so quick to make those assumptions.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN on Wednesday that the Committee plans to hold a hearing on Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) – commonly referred to as “red flag laws” – on March 26th.
The move is a rather big ordeal, considering the House has passed multiple gun control laws, including H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Check Act of 2019, and H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019.
“I haven’t really looked at the House package, but this is to me the area where we can come together. We did a lot on NICS Fix,” Graham told CNN. “I think there’s a lot of common ground on enrolling people in the background system who are a danger to themselves or others.”
Gun rights advocates have kept an eye on red flag laws, especially at the state level. These laws make it easier for police, doctors, teachers and family members to petition judges to take away a person’s guns if they feel he or she is a threat to themselves or others.
Now, I’m not going to defend this, but I will say it’s not overly surprising.
Graham has always been a bit more squishy as a Republican, and while he was fired up during the Kavanaugh hearings, at the end of the day, he’s still Lindsey Graham.
I’m not a fan.
That said, red flag laws do enjoy a certain degree of bipartisan support. Enough so that the National Rifle Association has been forced to back down on the issue and instead focus its efforts on making the law as unobtrusive as possible. Namely, it’s looking to make sure there are due process protections for gun owners, which is a good thing. If we’re likely to be stuck with something like this–and we probably are, whether we like it or not–then at least try to make it as “least bad” as you can.
However, Graham’s comments suggest that he’s willing to also look at universal background checks as well, and that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
Does this mean Senate Republicans will sell us out?
Not necessarily. Graham doesn’t have the power to unilaterally bring this to a vote in the Senate, just on his committee.
Still, it’s a reminder to all of us–especially me, to be fair–that we can’t just assume that the Senate has our backs. They need to be reminded that they represent us and that we don’t want any more gun control laws, particularly when they’re dressed up as “protective orders” that serve to do nothing but disarm people.
South Carolina readers, especially, need to do this. After all, Graham is your senator. Make your feelings heard loud and clear. Call and email his office and remind him who he serves and what you want.