AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Things look to be heating up in South Carolina, and it’s not even campaign season yet.
It seems that a pro-gun state representative is less than thrilled with one of his state’s senators. In particular, Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Now, I’m not a fan of Graham, so I can understand there are plenty of reasons to be upset with him, but why precisely is there an issue right now? It seems Graham is backing red flag laws, and he doesn’t like it.
A SC Representative and other gun rights activists gathered at a popular shooting range and gun store on Monday to denounce US Senator Lindsey Graham and his support for what they call “red flag gun confiscation legislation.”
District 8 State Representative Jonathon Hill (R-Anderson) and National Association for Gun Rights President Dudley Brown held a news conference Monday evening at Sharpshooters Gun Club on Rutherford Rd.
“Red flag gun confiscation schemes, also known as ‘Extreme Risk Protection Orders,’ are egregious violations of the right to self-defense and the right to due process,” Hill said in a news release. “Senator Graham is advancing legislation that represents an un-American departure from the idea that you are ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Bottom line—it treats innocent citizens like dangerous criminals.”
Hill went on to call Graham a “swamp creature” and warned that Graham “will pay a high political price for crossing South Carolina gun owners with the ‘red flag’ law.”
“Not sure why this group would choose to oppose a proposal that is backed by President Trump, the NRA, Senator Graham and many other defenders of the Second Amendment, but Senator Graham respects the fact they are entitled to their opinion,” said Kevin Bishop, spokesman for Senator Graham, in an emailed statement.
Well, that certainly makes Hill look unreasonable, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate, especially the part about having the support of the National Rifle Association.
You see, last year the NRA voiced what sounded like support for red flag laws in a video. For a lot of people, it represented a shift in the gun group’s position. However, the NRA claimed then that nothing had changed. Its opposition revolved around some key issues, which is why they’d opposed every bill introduced.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker insisted the NRA hasn’t changed positions.
“None of the pieces of legislation that have been introduced have included adequate due process so we’ve opposed them,” she said. “Our position has always been dangerous people should not have access to firearms.”
Indeed, the NRA’s support for such measures hinges on a multitude of requirements, which the association says are key to protecting Second Amendment rights and due process.
On Friday, NRA posted the lengthy list of conditions for a process it can support on its YouTube channel, as a commentbeneath the Cox video. Among them:
— Criminal penalties for those who bring “false or frivolous” charges.
— A determination by a judge, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that the person poses a significant risk of danger.
— A requirement that a judge determine whether the person meets the standard for involuntary commitment.
— If the order is granted, the individual should receive community-based mental health treatment.
Now, some time back, I spoke with Baker on this very issue for a previous unrelated story. During that on the record conversation, I seem to recall her saying that the NRA was not backing Sen. Marco Rubio’s red flag bill. Since this appears to be the very bill that Graham’s committee will be talking about, saying the NRA is backing it doesn’t look to be accurate at all.
Frankly, I believe the NRA’s support for any red flag proposal is more a matter of trying to make it the “least bad” bill possible rather than any actual support anyway. The NRA does things like that, which many take as a compromise, but is, in reality, a tactical decision to minimize the loss that’s generally going to happen anyway.
Graham’s backing, however, is nothing of the sort.